IRR launches petition to disband Command Council

8 October 2021 - The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), established at the declaration of the National State of Disaster on March 15, 2020, over 570 days ago, acts as a super-legislator, abrogating the role of parliamentary oversight.

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), established at the declaration of the National State of Disaster on March 15, 2020, over 570 days ago, acts as a super-legislator, abrogating the role of parliamentary oversight.

For this reason, and others set out below, the IRR believes it is time for the Command Council to be disbanded. To this end, the Institute has launched a petition – https://irr.org.za/campaigns/disband-command-council – to enable South Africans to endorse the call for the disbandment of the NCCC and the restoration of democratic accountability.

The Command Council was irregularly constituted. At its inception, President Ramaphosa repeatedly described the function of the NCCC as making “decisions” but then backtracked to say it only made “recommendations”, despite persisting evidence of its rulings over how South Africans live and do business.

The Command Council is non-democratic, as the effects of its decision-making amount to de facto laws that severely limit rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights without transparent justification. It abrogates the role of parliamentary oversight.

Even if it was temporarily acceptable for the Command Council to trump democratic norms, this cannot be allowed to continue while South Africa enjoys “green-light” low levels of Covid-19.

The Command Council is set up to last forever. The scientific consensus is that, on the balance of probabilities, Covid-19 is destined to become “endemic”, meaning that it will remain in circulation indefinitely. All current vaccines are non-sterilising, the virus has exhibited the capacity to evolve “escape mutations” that render convalescent protection non-sterilising, and no sterilising vaccine is on the horizon.

Absent “zero-Covid” – a utopian policy that countries like New Zealand and Singapore have been forced to abandon – the Command Council has no criterion for self-termination. Therefore, if Covid-19 becomes endemic the Command Council will continue to trump the norms of constitutional democracy permanently.

The Command Council is unscientific. From the ban on sales of open-toed shoes and cigarettes, and the current prohibition on midnight travel and funerals above 100 mourners, to permission being granted for political gatherings of up to 2 000 people, the Command Council presides over decisions that limit rights irrationally.

The Command Council is an arm of a corrupt state. The Digital Vibes scandal is just one indication that the level of maladministration that South Africans have sadly learned to expect from national government has been no less prominent in its response to the pandemic.

For these reasons and more, the IRR opposes the Command Council and encourages South Africans to petition against its indefinite contribution to the erosion of the country’s constitutional democracy. 

To sign the petition, and read more about the IRR’s disquiet at the risks associated with allowing the Command Council to continue – go to: https://irr.org.za/campaigns/disband-command-council
 

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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