The recent South African high court judgment regarding lockdown regulations is welcomed. Government must be held to account by the judiciary. This is the hallmark of a healthy functioning constitutional democracy. The Constitution remains supreme. All regulations must be checked and balanced in accordance with it. Ministers, you’ve been legally checked! SD
This article is reprinted from Business Day. Written by Genevieve Quintal 2020-0602
The High Court in Pretoria has found that the government’s level 4 and 3 lockdown regulations are unconstitutional and invalid, making it the first successful legal challenge to the measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The court application was lodged against co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by Reyno De Beer and Liberty Fighters, a little known organisation of which De Beer is president.
De Beer and Liberty Fighters wanted the court to declare the regulations gazetted under the Disaster Management Act unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.
Judgement in the matter was handed down on Tuesday in favour of De Beer and his organisation.
After declaring the regulations unconstitutional and invalid, the court suspended their invalidity until Dlamini-Zuma, in consultation with relevant cabinet ministers, reviewed, amended and republished the regulations with due consideration to the limitation each regulation had on the rights guaranteed in the bill of rights as contained the constitution.
This was except for regulations that dealt with the prohibition of evictions, initiation practices and the closure of nightclubs and casinos.
The court also said the regulations around the ban on the sale of tobacco products was excluded from the order pending the finalisation of court action against it.
The minister was directed to comply with the order within 14 business days.
The court said that during the suspension, the level 3 regulations gazetted by the government will apply. Dlamini-Zuma was also ordered to pay costs in the matter for De Beer and Liberty Fighters.
The cabinet said on Tuesday that it noted the judgment and would make further comment once it had fully studied it.
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