Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) keep watch during the lockdown in Soweto. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) keep watch during the lockdown in Soweto. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Government's appeal against lockdown regulations judgment is 'surprising'

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Jun 6, 2020

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Pretoria - The lawyer who represented Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) - the group which scored a victory when it had some of the lockdown regulations declared invalid this week - said he was surprised by the fact that the government wanted to appeal the judgment.

Zahir Omar yesterday said he had not yet received anything official from the government, thus did not know what the grounds for appeal would be.

“The first I knew about it was when I read it in the media,” he said.

Government has two weeks grace from the date of the judgment to note their intention to ask for leave to appeal. “Until they note their intention to appeal, the judgment stands.”

The North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, found "some of the regulations promulgated by the government simply did not meet the rationality test in preventing the spread of Covid-19".

Omar said one would expect a responsible government to go back to Parliament to look at the regulations in the Disaster Management Act which were found to be problematic and to amend those.

He said it was worrisome that the government had “too much power” and had become “too confident”, and called on citizens to stand together to make their objections heard.

“They must know that I am ready to oppose any application for leave to appeal,” he said.

LFN head Reyno de Beer, who presented his case in person to the court in Pretoria, could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, earlier he said that he would be surprised if the government did appeal the judgment.

"That would be a slap in the face of South Africans. The African Union and the United Nations are now aware that the lockdown regulations are an infringement of our human rights and their eyes will be on us,” De Beer said shortly after the judgment.

Following a cabinet meeting on Thursday, government announced that it would urgently seek leave to appeal.

It is, however, not expected to be heard immediately the applicants still have to be notified of the grounds of appeal and they will have to be given time to cite their opposition to it.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the Cabinet had decided to appeal “so that all of us can obtain certainty on the regulations”.

Judge Norman Davis gave the government 14 days to amend the regulations for level 4 and 3 of lockdown he found to be irrational.

Pretoria News

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