The civil rights organisation AfriForum today reminded the public that the 30-day extension of the Covid-19 regulations will expire at midnight.
This entails that, unless the government makes another one of its late-night announcements, no one will be required to wear masks or comply with any other Covid-19 regulations from tomorrow as no such regulations would exist and be enacted.
Government initially extended the regulations for 30 days after the National State of Disaster came to an end in order to implement permanent regulations in this regard.
Should the government go ahead with their plans to permanently enshrine these regulations in law, AfriForum together with the public participation platform DearSA, will launch court action against governments’ proposed regulations issued in terms of the National Health Act 61 of 2003 and the International Health Regulations Act 28 of 1974.
“AfriForum’s court documents have already been finalised and our legal team are standing by to fight these amendments immediately should they come into force. AfriForum will litigate to review the astoundingly and unjustifiable regulations,” says Jacques Broodryk, Campaigns Manager at AfriForum.
AfriForum argues that the draft regulations are ultra vires 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.
DearSA says it is also concerned about governments’ handling of the public participation process regarding commentary on the newly proposed amendments to the Health Act.
“The number of comments submitted, as quoted by health officials, is far less than the number of comments DearSA received and submitted on behalf of public participants. More than 95% of the 283 000 comments we received, rejected these regulations in its entirety. A detailed report of all these individual comments will be made available to the public shortly,” says Gideon Joubert, CEO of DearSA.
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,” concludes Broodryk.