Stellenbosch University chairperson of social justice advocate Thuli Madonsela: "Government says stay at home but meanwhile people are going hungry." Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Stellenbosch University chairperson of social justice advocate Thuli Madonsela: "Government says stay at home but meanwhile people are going hungry." Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Lockdown ruling: People getting sick of listening to government, says Madonsela

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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Cape Town - The ruling by the North Gauteng High Court declaring levels 3 and 4 of the lockdown unconstitutional might be headed for the Constitutional Court to determine if government overstepped its powers.

The ruling on Tuesday came after Liberty Fighters Network brought an urgent application to have the regulations promulgated in terms of the Disaster Management Act as declared unlawful and invalid.

Political analysts said the ruling raised questions about how government approached the restrictions.

Political analyst Sanusha Naidoo said: “What this does suggest is how the government excluded the Bill of Rights; did the government encroach on the Bill of Rights? What we do know is that there are certain parts in the Constitution that give the government certain powers, but for ordinary people what this means is that there is a trust deficit in the ANC."

She anticipated the government to appeal the court’s decision.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said: “This judgment essentially means that the government cannot justify its lockdown measures. They have forgotten that we live in a democracy and if they appeal this, it would be too risky because it would show pure arrogance because of the illogical regulations.”

Judge Norman Davis gave a scathing judgment, saying invoking a national state of disaster placed the power to promulgate and direct substantial (if not virtual) all aspects of everyday life of the people in the hands of a single minister with little or no oversight function.

The current regulations are still valid for 14 days until government overhaul the regulations.

Stellenbosch University chairperson of social justice advocate Thuli Madonsela applauded the judgment and appealed to the government to listen to the court of public opinion.

“People are getting sick of listening to the government. Government says stay at home but meanwhile people are going hungry. The regulations were just improper and I would advise the government, should they appeal this, to take into account what the judge said. The judgment resonates with so many people who don’t have a voice,” Madonsela said.

Opposition parties welcomed the ruling.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said: “It confirms our position that many of the government lockdown regulations were petty, irrational and unreasonable. We have several cases challenging the regulations as well as a case before the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of the Disaster Management Act itself.”

Good secretary general Brett Herron said while the purpose of the lockdown was to delay the spread of the virus, “it would be unacceptable if this was based on irrational and unlawful regulations”.

Government said it was studying the judgment and would make a statement once done.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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