FF Plus going to court to end lockdown

The FF Plus will approach the High Court with an urgent application to challenge the validity of the National Disaster Management Act and to request the Court to find that the government is abusing the Act, which will mean that the announced state of disaster and the associated regulations are unconstitutional.

The balance of public interest

The balance of public interest between curbing the spread of the virus and unlocking the economy to prevent the loss of livelihoods and subsequently lives should come into play. At present, it is not taken into account with the draconian regulations imposed on the country.

The associated regulations

The lockdown and the associated regulations have already served their purpose to flatten the curve of the infection rate to allow health care services enough time to prepare for a possible large outbreak of Covid-19.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government’s own head health care advisor, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, and the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, have all repeatedly stated that we have already reaped the benefits of the lockdown.

The lockdown cannot be extended

The lockdown cannot be extended in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus from reaching its peak in certain areas. It is bound to happen and with the winter months at our door, unlocking the country cannot be postponed any further. The FF Plus recognises that the virus poses a real threat to many human lives, but if a country’s economy comes to a complete standstill, it will without a doubt also result in great loss of lives, severe poverty and suffering.

The utmost importance

It has always been of the utmost importance to strike a balance between limiting the spread of the virus and unlocking the country’s economy. Waiting another two weeks before moving to Level Three will seriously disturb that delicate balance.

The chances that continued restrictions will do a lot more damage to the economy and ordinary citizens’ livelihood are much greater than the chances of it limiting the rate of infection any further.

Has become evident

It has become evident that the government is abusing its powers by invoking the National Disaster Management Act instead of the State of Emergency Act seeing as a state of emergency may only be implemented for three weeks and all regulations require Parliament’s approval and oversight, which entails the involvement of all represented political parties.

Secretary-general of the United Nations

Even the Secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), Mr Antonio Guterres, has indicated that South Africa is one of the countries that is abusing the lockdown to violate the rights of its citizens.

The FF Plus will request the Court to rule that all business enterprises will be allowed to become fully operational and trade on condition that they have the relevant health and safety measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.

The party’s application

The party’s application will also request the Court to ask the government to provide its reasons for imposing such stringent regulations and the reasons for why these regulations are still in place even though they have already achieved their primary objective.

The government must also disclose

The government must also disclose the data on which the state of disaster is based and explain the reasoning behind how the timelines for the various levels of lockdown are determined. The reasons for the delay in the official announcement of regulations, which are in many cases unclear and without any schedule, must also be provided. Therefore, the FF Plus will urgently approach the Court to address these matters. The government’s abuse of power must not be tolerated.

Media release by:

Dr. Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus leader

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