AfriForum will fight the proposed regulations by Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health, to supervise and control notifiable diseases in future. These proposed regulations will give far-reaching powers to the Minister when the national state of disaster is eventually lifted.
If Cabinet approves it, the amended regulations will give Mkhize the power to apply the same strict regulations as those applied by government in terms of the Disaster Management Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to any disease that may be perceived as a major risk to the public.
Some of these powers include that Mkhize may prohibit travelling between provinces or districts, as well as public meetings. He may also introduce a curfew, close educational institutions and place people under compulsory quarantine by simply publishing a notice in the Government Gazette.
“The disastrous manner in which government handled the COVID-19 pandemic provides ample reason why the state should not have such power over citizens. It is even worse when so much power is vested in one minister. AfriForum will oppose the regulations if approved by Cabinet. We cannot afford any future irrational lockdown regulations by government,” says Natasha Venter, Manager of Campaigns at AfriForum.