The state has abandoned its plans to force people who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate in state facilities after sustained pressure by the civil rights organisation AfriForum.
The regulations also indicated that people who test positive for COVID-19 should receive mandatory medical treatment. No indication was given as to what type of medical treatment was being referred to.
AfriForum’s legal team immediately sent a letter to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to point out to the state that the regulations are unconstitutional and a gross violation of the rights of the public. After AfriForum threatened with legal action and prepared court documents, the Minister agreed and made the necessary amendments to the regulations.
In addition, AfriForum had already achieved victory in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in June 2020 when Judge J.W. Louw granted the organisation’s urgent application to have the Minister’s quarantine regulations (which at the time also prohibited self-isolation) declared invalid.
According to the latest amended regulations, persons may now self-isolate again. The regulation on the refusal of treatment was also removed.
“The minister’s decision to adapt the draconian regulations only shows once again how important it is for civil society to keep the government on their toes. One gets the impression that the state is increasingly trying to expand its power and unless organisations such as AfriForum and their supporters push back, the state will definitely abuse its power, as we have seen many times now,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s Campaign Manager.
AfriForum is of the opinion that people who test positive for COVID-19 and show symptoms should be allowed to isolate at home and should not be forced into state facilities at all.