Pretoria - Trade union Solidarity as well as AfriForum will approach the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in a bid to end the state of disaster.
The Solidarity Movement, including Solidarity and AfriForum, said it took a stand yesterday by declaring that no further reasons existed for the current state of disaster, which has been in place for about 22 months, to remain in force.
This comes after the state of disaster was extended again by the government.
According to Solidarity Movement chairperson Flip Buys, it seems that the pandemic is now entering an endemic phase. He said it further appeared that increased group immunity against Covid-19 could now be detected, with the Omicron variant, resulting in less serious illness and fewer deaths.
“The fact that the virus is now endemic means the virus won’t disappear, but we will have to learn to live with the virus. It also means that exceptional measures by the state, such as those that can be instituted under a state of disaster, are no longer necessary in an effort to control the virus,” Buys said.
Buys also expressed his concern about the state of schools due to the restrictions that hamper education.
“The fact that many schools are still unable to return to a normal way of functioning intensifies the concerns about the future of a whole generation of learners,” Buys said.
AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said the state of disaster posed a threat to freedom, as it gave the government extraordinary power to dramatically restrict civil liberties without subjecting such power to parliamentary oversight and decision-making in any way.
“The fact that the state of disaster can be prolonged repeatedly without parliamentary approval is a serious violation of sound democratic principles,” Kriel said.
According to Solidarity CEO Dr Dirk Hermann, the current state of disaster creates major uncertainty for workers, companies and the economy in general, and must therefore be terminated.
“The state of disaster enables the government to implement at short notice measures that affect the livelihood of businesses and workers.
“This sword hanging over the economy creates uncertainty that hampers capital formation and further expansion at a time when economic growth is crucially important,” Hermann said.
Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s campaign manager, said the organisation would submit its court documents soon.
“AfriForum has already taken on several of the government’s outrageous measures, including the curfew regulations, quarantine camps and the ban on religious gatherings. The time has come for the state of disaster to be lifted in its entirety,” Broodryk said.
According to Hermann, the declaration that the state of disaster could not be terminated at short notice did not keep in mind the fact that the regulations that had been introduced and enforced, “with immediate effect” under the state of disaster. No date has yet been set for the hearing as the parties must still file their papers.