For the first time in many months the country was treated to a 'family meeting' where President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the country on the status of the Covid-19 outbreak and the rules that were put in place to deal with it.
From Wednesday the 23rd March (once the Regulations are published) masks will no longer be required when outdoors. However they will still be required when indoors at public venues. This includes places like shops and malls - and also applies to public transport, taxis, etc.
The national State of Disaster will be lifted, but not for at least three weeks. New health regulations are being prepared and the public consultation process with them only closes on the 16th April. President Ramaphosa stated that the State of Disaster will not be recinded until then.
However even when the State of Disaster is removed it will not be the end of masks indoors, and some other restrictions. The new health department regulations will take the place of the current disaster legislation which many political parties have been opposed to.
The rule on at least 1metre social distancing will remain in place - except at schools where there will be no restrictions.
There are also changes to the regulations on international travel. Travelers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours.
The latest figures announced showed that fewer than 1000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the last 24 hours, and only one person had died from the illness in the last 48 hours.
Speaking after the President spoke to the country, Professor Shabir Madhi described the announcement as "hugely disappointing". He felt that the rules on masks being worn outside should have been relaxed more than 6 months ago and declared the regulations as "irrational and inconsistent".
"The virus will not be eliminated in our lifetime but the number of people who are dying or end up in hospital will be relatively muted compared to what we have experienced in the past", said Madhi.