South African authorities on Wednesday unexpectedly lifted COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings just as more than 600 people died of the virus in one day.
South Africa is in the throes of the third wave, driven by the more deadly Delta variant.
The country is also in the grip of unrest. At least 72 people have died in looting incidents in different parts of Gauteng and KwaZuluMembersprovinces.
More than one thousand people have been arrested for public violence and looting.
Hundreds of looters have brazenly ignored the Covid-19 restrictions that prevent gatherings and impose a curfew from 10pm to 4am.
In an about-turn, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma issued amendments to the gazetted regulations under adjusted level four of the lockdown.
She said the lifting of the restrictions on gatherings will assist officials in engaging directly with communities affected by the current acts of criminality unfolding in some parts of the country.
The crimes include looting, damage to property and infrastructure.