600 days of lockdown-fatigue – challenge to President Ramaphosa

17 November 2021 - On 27 March 2020 South Africa was locked down. This was presented as a three-week suspension of the liberal norm so that public health providers could “prepare” for the Covid-19 pandemic. 600 days of various lockdown levels have come and gone since then.

On 27 March 2020 South Africa was locked down. This was presented as a three-week suspension of the liberal norm so that public health providers could “prepare” for the Covid-19 pandemic. 600 days of various lockdown levels have come and gone since then. 

On 15 November 2021, Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma once again extended the “State of Disaster”, despite record lows in current Covid-19 deaths. This extension is unconstitutional and arguably deceitfully framed.  

As the IRR observed in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, what is being called a “state of disaster” is in actual terms a state of emergency. Calling it a different name allows the National Coronavirus Command Council to ignore Section 37 of the Constitution. According to this section “a state of emergency may be declared only in terms of an Act of Parliament”. No parliamentary approval has been given for the latest extension. 

The IRR, through its attorneys, has followed up on last week’s letter to the President with a demand to know on what basis the “State of Disaster” has been extended. This demand has also been addressed to the Cogta Minister. 

The IRR wants answers to the following questions by no later than 30 November: 

  • Based on what advice, reports, evidence or considerations was the national state of disaster extended on 15 November 2021? 
  • What reasons underlie the decision to extend the national state of disaster? 
  • Were any alternative measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 considered before the decision was taken to extend the national state of disaster? Moreover, were any less restrictive means to combat Covid-19 considered? 
  • Were the continued adverse economic consequences that accompany the national state of disaster considered when declaring the latest extension, and previous extensions, of the state of disaster? 
  • Was it considered that, despite the fact that there was widespread electioneering across the country during the local government elections, no spike in Covid-19 cases is currently being experienced? 

South Africans deserve to know the answers to these questions, as well as others raised in the letter, which can be read in full here [https://irr.org.za/campaigns/disband-command-council]. 

The final question is: “Were any international examples consulted and followed in the decision to extend the national state of disaster?” 

The over 10 000 South Africans who have, through the IRR, petitioned to disband the “Command Council” and end the “State of Disaster” deserve to know why South Africa, unlike any country we would want to compare ourselves to, remains locked down, regardless of the facts. 

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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