AfriForum warned on Wednesday that should government go ahead with its plans to permanently enshrine current pandemic health regulations into law, it and public participation platform DearSA will launch court action against government’s proposed regulations.
Covid-19 rules, such as mask wearing and social distancing, are set to expire at midnight after government extended the regulations for 30 days after it ended the National State of Disaster.
AfriForum argued that government’s draft regulations are beyond legal powers and, therefore, outside of the intended scope of the legislation.
“It was never the legislature’s intention for these Acts to have such far-reaching effects and consequences. Some of these proposed regulations, such as forced quarantine, have previously been nullified by the court,” said AfriForum campaigns manager Jacques Broodryk.
AfriForum also submitted more than 30 000 individual comments rejecting the regulations.
“There is no reason why these temporary health regulations should be made permanent. While many countries across the globe have dropped regulations such as the wearing of masks, the South African government now wants to permanently enshrine these measures in law. It’s absolutely illogical,” explained Broodryk.
DearSA also raised concerns about the manner in which government is handling the public participation process on the proposed amendments to the Health Act.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) urged President Cyril Ramaphosa and the African National Congress government to provide clarity on when the State of Disaster will finally come to an end, and clear steps on what the road ahead would entail.
DA Shadow Minister of Health Michele Clarke said, as yet, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla had provided no feedback on the DA’s various requests and suggestions to ensure transparency and oversight.
“There is currently no confirmation that an audit has been done to indicate whether submissions lost due to a technical glitch were recovered and included,” she said.
Broodryk said AfriForum’s court documents had already been finalised and the legal team was standing by to fight amendments immediately should they come into force.
He added that AfriForum would litigate to review the “astoundingly and unjustifiable regulations”.