The high court in Pretoria has found that government’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations are unconstitutional and has ordered them fixed within 14 days.
The regulations promulgated in terms of levels 3 and 4 of the lockdown by co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma under the Disaster Management Act are “in a substantial number of instances … not rationally connected to the objectives of slowing the rate of infection or limiting the spread thereof”, the court found.
The judgment did not deal with the prohibition of tobacco products, which is the subject of separate litigation.
The court challenge was successfully brought by Reyno de Beer and an organisation called the Liberty Fighters Network.
“Government has taken note of the judgment delivered … today … declaring the alert level 4 and alert level 3 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement.
“The court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of 14 days. That means that alert level 3 regulations remain in force for now.
“The court has further directed the minister of co-operative governance & traditional affairs, in consultation with the relevant ministers, to review, amend and republish the regulations with due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights,” the spokeswoman said.
In the judgment, the court found, among other things, that:
- Insofar as the lockdown regulations do not satisfy the “rationality test”, their encroachment on and limitation of rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the constitution are not justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom as contemplated in section 36 of the constitution.
- The deficiencies in the regulations need to be addressed by Dlamini-Zuma so they do not infringe on constitutional rights more than may be rationally justified. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media