“Command Council” credibility incinerated – IRR

4 January 2022 - Fire caused extensive damage to the parliamentary complex this week – but a far greater danger to the national legislature is the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), now facing a growing backlash after more than 21 months of imposing itself on the country without parliamentary oversight.

Fire caused extensive damage to the parliamentary complex this week – but a far greater danger to the national legislature is the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), now facing a growing backlash after more than 21 months of imposing itself on the country without parliamentary oversight.

Said Head of Campaigns at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) Gabriel Crouse: “The Command Council burnt the bridge between the law-makers in parliament and us, the people of South Africa, but now its own credibility is in ashes. Scientists, legal experts, and ordinary South Africans see that the Command Council is an incendiary threat to rights and reason. Brave people are speaking out.”

Days ago, vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi noted a “consistent pattern of decision making” from the NCCC in which “irrational decisions” were imposed to the point of being ‘simply ludicrous’.

Added Madhi: “The next step needs to be the dissolution of the NCCC, so that parliament can start exercising oversight…the current state of Covid does not merit an ongoing state of disaster in South Africa.”

From a legal perspective, former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng observed that the “Command Council” status quo “is neither constitutional nor statutory” and noted that “more accountability would have been experienced” if parliamentary oversight were in place.

Said Crouse: “Since the IRR launched its campaign against the NCCC in October last year the Command Council’s credibility has been incinerated. From Mzwanele Manyi of the Zuma Foundation to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, the Command Council is unifying South Africans in opposition to what Professor Madhi rightly calls its ludicrous impositions.

“Thousands have signed the IRR petition to disband the Command Council, end the State of Disaster, and amend the Disaster Management Act to stop the 21-month abrogation of parliamentary oversight from happening again. As people get back to work we expect thousands more to sign up for a return to proper democracy.”

He added: “People can see what has physically happened to Parliament; one of its chambers was turned to ash. That is what happened to Parliament at a functional level when the law of the land started to be made elsewhere nearly two years ago. The building must be fixed, but much more urgently the system of constitutional democracy must be fixed by ending the ‘Disaster’ and disbanding the NCCC.”
 

Media contact: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

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