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‘They’re unconstitutional, unlawful and irrational’: ActionSA joins legal action against Covid-19 regulations

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has criticised the extension of Covid-19 regulations. File photo.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has criticised the extension of Covid-19 regulations. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba is the latest to criticise government’s extension of Covid-19 regulations, saying his party will join a court battle to challenge the regulations for managing Covid-19 after the end of the state of disaster.

This week AfriForum and the public participation platform DearSA launched a court application challenging government’s regulations. 

In the application, the organisations asked the high court in Pretoria to review and set aside the decision by the minister of health to publish regulations relating to the surveillance and control of notifiable medical conditions. The regulations were published on May 4.

The organisations said they want the court to declare the regulations inconsistent with the constitution and invalid.

Mashaba on Tuesday said his party would join the two organisations to challenge the regulations as friends of the court, or an amicus curiae.

He said the party is concerned the regulations give health minister Joe Phaahla powers to create and amend legislation at a whim, with no accountability mechanisms for the abuse of such sweeping powers.

“The gazetted regulations are preposterous. They are unconstitutional, they are unlawful and they are procedurally irrational. 

“South Africans have emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted by the irrational and power-hungry actions of our government that restricted our constitutional freedoms in a manner consistent with our government’s lack of respect for the constitution,” said Mashaba.

He said it was outrageous that government is introducing “wide-ranging powers” to have a minister unilaterally create legislation to limit people’s freedom.

“ActionSA stands with freedom-loving South Africans who are having to work tirelessly to recover from the cruel personal, economic and social impact of this pandemic. In doing so we will pursue legal action as far as may be necessary to prevent our government imposing any further limitations upon our freedoms,” he said. 

Speaking at the health department budget vote, Phaahla said the department disagrees with those who want it to drop all regulations.

He said government gets no joy in inconveniencing citizens from time to time with restrictions.

“We say sorry where we have wronged you, but please be assured that all interventions were meant and are still meant for all of us to avoid the severe impact of Covid-19.

“We completely disagree with armchair critics who argue we should drop all public health measures and just let the virus spread at will and only worry about whether hospitals are full,” said Phaahla. 

He reiterated the measures government took using the Disaster Management Act were not meant to control people but to protect SA against the harshest impacts of Covid-19.

 


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