As a result of the national lockdown, many companies are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations, including the delivery of goods, the rendering of services and the payment of outstanding debts. It is recommended that companies review their contractual terms of breach and take steps aimed at mitigating these risks.

As a result of the national lockdown, the South African government has implemented restrictions on the scope of business allowed during this period. The government is only allowing businesses considered essential to the functioning of the state, health services, food supply, etc. to continue operating. Non-essential businesses, such as law firms, accountants and brokers are allowed to continue operating, however, only on a remote basis and in compliance with travel and social interaction restrictions.

It has emerged in the early days of South Africa’s national lockdown that there is confusion among both consumers and businesses regarding what travel, work and trade is considered essential. Further confusion has emerged surrounding the process of applying to be designated an essential service. Despite this, any person who does not comply with these regulations is liable to a fine or to imprisonment.