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Freedom Front Plus v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others (22939/2020) [2020] ZAGPPHC 266

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Freedom Front Plus v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others (22939/2020) [2020] ZAGPPHC 266

10th July 2020

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1.               In this application, this Court is once again called upon to rule on the legality of the state’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the coronavirus family.  It is commonly referred to as Covid-19.  Since early 2020 the virus has caused a pandemic around the world.  South Africa has not been spared.  Like all countries, our government has had to adopt measures to deal with the epidemic as its effects have manifested in South Africa.

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2.               To this end, the government declared a national state of disaster under the Disaster Management Act (DMA).[1]  It has promulgated regulations which put in place measures to deal with the epidemic.  These measures have progressed over time as knowledge of the virus has developed.  For a brief period, at the initial stage, government introduced mild measures to deal with the threat posed when the virus was first detected in South Africa.  However, as more knowledge was gained, South Africa moved to a phase of strict lockdown, under stringent regulations.  Since then, the stringent lockdown measures have been eased progressively over time.

3.               The measures adopted under the DMA have been as far-reaching as the threat posed by the virus.  They have affected every aspect of the lives of the populace and the economy.  As befits our constitutional democracy, the government has not been spared a range of constitutional challenges to the decisions and regulations made under the DMA.  In this particular application, the applicant challenges, among other things, the constitutional validity of the DMA itself.

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