Advocate Wim Trengrove represented the State. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Advocate Wim Trengrove represented the State. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Government argues public interest in bid against lockdown regulations' judgment

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - The government has asked the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to grant it leave to appeal the judgment that found level 3 and 4 lockdown regulations were unconstitutional and invalid in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The State, represented by Wim Trengove SC, argued Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was not given reasons to justify the rationality of each regulation promulgated under the Disaster Management Act.

Earlier this month, Judge Norman Davis issued a ruling in a case brought by Liberty Fighters Network (LFN). He found that regulations promulgated under level 3 and 4 were irrational and unconstitutional. Norman gave the government 14 days to rectify the regulations. The government on Wednesday argued it was possible that a higher court could come to a different conclusion on the judgment and find  it was incorrect.

Trengove argued Judge Davis had erred when he concluded all the regulations were invalid when, in actuality, there were issues with some of the regulations and not all of them. He said this was unfair to the minister because she was never given a chance to argue the legality of each individual regulation stated under the Act.

He also argued the court had overstepped when it ruled on level 3 regulations as those had yet to be gazetted and had not offered the minister the time to argue for the regulations.

Trengove said it was in the public interest for the appeal to be heard at the SCA whether or not the higher court found the judgment correct or not. He asked Judge Davis to allow for an appeal to be heard on an urgent basis.

The legal team for LFN argued against the appeal being granted.

Advocate Reg Willis said the case had not brought forward compelling arguments for why it should be allowed to appeal the ruling. Willis said regulations for level 3 and 4 were part of the same "DNA", and the State could not argue they should not be looked at through the same lens.

Willis said the application should be dismissed with costs.

Reyno de Beer from LFN pleaded with Judge Davis to consider the interests of justice and the ordinary citizens who would be impacted by the judgment. He said the government had been allowed to justify the regulations. De Beer also called out the government for having taken no action to adhere to the 14-day deadline to amend the regulations as stipulated by the court.

Judgment has been reserved. Judge Davis said he would deal with the case speedily.

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