'Concerned citizens' launch lockdown challenge
A group of ‘concerned citizens’ has filed an urgent application – they describe it as an ‘act of patriotism’ – at the Western Cape High Court challenging the constitutionality of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the validity of the lockdown rules, according to TimesLIVE.
‘Each of us have had our freedom curtailed by the regulations. We no longer enjoy the freedom to move around as we please, to eat and drink what we want, to work and study as usual and to visit our friends and families,’ the group said in a statement.
The group comprises students at UCT, a civil servant, a media intern and a data analyst. They are Mpiyakhe Dlamini, Duwayne Esau, Tami Jackson, Lindo Khuzwayo, Mikhail Manuel, Neo Mkwane, Scott Roberts and Riaan Salie.
Respondents in the matter include President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Ministers of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs, Trade & Industry, the NCCC and the National Disaster Management Centre.
‘We the applicants, are ordinary citizens who have done our best to continue living, studying, working and functioning during the lockdown and the subsequent level four restrictions,’ said Duwayne Esau, a student at UCT, in an affidavit.
‘However, the President's address of 13 May 2020 has made it clear that the level four restrictions, which are barely different from the initial lockdown in the extent of their limitations, will continue in full force in significant parts of the country.’
The group argues that the regulations have affected human dignity.
‘The regulations have allowed the state to insert itself into the most private, sacred parts of our lives. No ordinary person in our country can escape the restrictions,’ read the statement.
They also want the court to declare the NCCC inconsistent with the Constitution and the Disaster Management Act, notes TimesLIVE.
‘It is clear from statements made by the President that a body called the NCCC has taken critical decisions in respect of our country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which have far-reaching consequences for the freedom and dignity of South Africans. The NCCC has, for example, previously decided what “level” of lockdown we are in, and whether or not the lockdown should be extended,’ the group said.
They argued in court papers that there was no information on how the NCCC was constituted, who its members were and what the membership terms were.
The group said its case was about making sure that the decisions made by government were made by the ‘correct’ people, and that the laws promulgated subsequent to those decisions were lawful.
© Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd 2016
Article disclaimer: Juta expressly reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to alter or amend any criteria or information set out in this article without notice. Accordingly, any information, including journalistic articles, are not intended to constitute legal, financial, accounting, tax, investment, consulting or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action based on the information contained in this article, which decision or action might affect your personal finances or business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.