AfriForum’s court victory shows weakness of centralised government power – IRR

8 May 2020 - The IRR celebrates with many South Africans the court victory attained by AfriForum in the closure of the Zithabiseni quarantine camp. AfriForum and their legal team deserve congratulations on scoring a victory for the freedom of ordinary South Africans from unfair and unjust government fiat.

Press Release

The IRR celebrates with many South Africans the court victory attained by AfriForum in the closure of the Zithabiseni quarantine camp. AfriForum and their legal team deserve congratulations on scoring a victory for the freedom of ordinary South Africans from unfair and unjust government fiat.

The High Court in Pretoria handed down an order that the quarantine camp can only be re-opened upon meeting World Health Organisation standards of hygiene and being fit for human habitation. This is a damning indictment of the government’s attempts to exert centralised control over South Africa’s response to the crisis, and underlines the necessity for alternative approaches.

In its comprehensive policy response framework, Friends In Need – Covid-19: How South Africa Can Save #LivesAndLivelihoods, published 25 March, the IRR makes the case for accommodating people vulnerable to Covid-19 in currently vacant private-sector tourism facilities, funded through Emergency Covid-19 Isolated Care Vouchers.

This offers a solution in cases where people are unable to self-isolate at home or might pose a risk of spreading infection – based on circumstances such as having been overseas recently.

In simple, practical terms, Emergency Covid-19 Isolated Care Vouchers would be issued by government to venues offering accommodation – hotels, B&Bs, and lodges, for example – enabling them to accommodate people in need of alternative housing due to Covid-19. The additional benefit of this approach is that it would provide much-needed financial support for South Africa’s struggling tourism and hospitality sectors

Says IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research Hermann Pretorius: “The failure at Zithabiseni is a failure of the fundamental ideological approach government is taking in exerting centralised control over the lives of South Africans.

“This approach has repeatedly been proved to be ineffective and to result in the denial of liberty. The people detained at the Zithabiseni quarantine camp have joined the ranks of too many others who can attest to this.”

The IRR calls on government to accept the clear limitations of its capacities and acknowledge and endorse the capacities of ordinary South Africans in business, charities and NGOs to solve problems governments too often make worse.

Media contacts: Hermann Pretorius, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research – 079 875 4290; hermann@irr.org.za; Nicholas Babaya, 083 704 2903, nbabaya@irr.org.za

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

Kelebogile Leepile Tel: 079 051 0073 Email: kelebogile@irr.org.za

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