South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Ayanda Ndamane African news agency (ANA)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Ayanda Ndamane African news agency (ANA)

National Coronavirus Command Council not established by any law - Ramaphosa

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jun 10, 2020

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed that the National Coronavrius Command Council has not been established in terms of an Act of Parliament.

This follows written questions by the opposition to Ramaphosa on Wednesday on the acts of Parliament used to set up the NCCC, a body comprising several ministers and the president as its chairperson.

The DA has for the last few months been questioning the law that made provision for the establishment of the NCCC. 

In written questions to Ramaphosa, DA MP and its spokesperson on justice, Glynnis Breytenbach, asked whcih law was used to constitute the NCCC.

" The NCCC – originally known as the NCC – was established as a committee of Cabinet by the Cabinet in its meeting of 15 March 2020," said Ramaphosa.

He further added that the council does work for the government to fight Covid-19.

"The NCCC coordinates government’s  response to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCCC makes recommendations to Cabinet  on measures required in terms of the national state of disaster. Cabinet  makes the final decisions," he said.

In another follow up question, DA MP Anette Steyn, asked Ramaphosa what empirical evidence had been used to ban the sale of tobacco products.

"The decision to promulgate the Disaster Management Regulations, including regulation 27 (of the Regulations), which prohibits the sale of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products was taken after careful consideration, not only of the submissions received, but also the relevant medical literature focusing inter alia on the effects of smoking on public and individual health, especially in the face of a respiratory illness such as Covid-19," he said.

"After my initial announcement on 23 April 2020, following representations that were made by various organisations and individuals and further consideration of relevant medical studies and advice, a different position was ultimately adopted by the NCCC and thereafter by Cabinet before the regulations were promulgated," said Ramaphosa.

"At this stage, it is difficult to determine when the ban on the sale of tobacco and related products will be lifted. This will depend on such factors as the progression of the disease in South Africa, the readiness of our health systems and evolving knowledge on the nature and impact of the virus itself," said Ramaphosa.

The government is facing legal challenge in the High Court by the Fair Trade Independent Association on the ban of cigarette. 

Political Bureau

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