Liberty Fighters Network organisation that won lockdown legal challenge cries foul
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Pretoria - The organisation that successfully challenged lockdown regulations in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, said it would not accept the outcome of the government’s appeal in the matter.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Appeal reserved judgment in the appeal by the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
However, Liberty Fighters Network president Reyno de Beer said they would not accept any other outcome in the matter.
De Beer said they were no longer in a position to accept any outcome in any matter adjudicated by the Supreme Court.
He is aggrieved because the Supreme Court heard Dlamini Zuma’s appeal against last year’s judgment virtually. The court has since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic conducted hearings virtually.
But De Beer and his organisation are having none of it. While he did not take part in last month’s appeal proceedings, he made it clear that he did not refuse to take part; he merely asked the five judges to excuse him from any further proceedings.
He said the persistence of the five judges to go ahead and hear the appeal virtually was unlawful. De Beer wanted the matter to be heard in open court and told the judges so. His request was, however, refused.
De Beer said he and the Liberty Fighters Network wanted the entire Bench of five judges to recuse themselves.
He said neither he nor his organisation was in a position to accept any outcome in this matter “unless and until the wrongs meted out to them are rectified”. According to him, he and his group would fight for the independence of the judiciary. This is an issue which he is questioning, as his request to argue his case in open court was turned down.
Judge Norman Davis last year ruled in favour of De Beer and his group and ordered that the bulk of the lockdown regulations were invalid and unconstitutional, as they were irrational.
Dlamini Zuma contended that Judge Davis went beyond the scope of what he was asked and that the applicants were vague in their attack against the regulations.
Judge Davis gave the government 14 days from June 2, when his judgment was delivered, to take another look at the lockdown regulations and streamline them so that they were in line with the Constitution.
Dlamini Zuma decided to appeal the judgment as she said it was important to obtain clarity on these issues.
As the minister had filed her appeal application out of time with the Supreme Court, De Beer and his organisation again turned to the court in February to hold Dlamini Zuma in contempt of Judge Davis’s earlier ruling. While the country was facing the second wave of the pandemic, the judge, however, then said a lot had changed since his first ruling.
“The world and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic has mutated from time to time. The factual, regulatory and legal landscapes had also undergone unprecedented changes,” he said in refusing to hold the minister in contempt.