World reverts to civil freedoms as SA clings to draconian powers – IRR

4 March 2022 - South Africa remains under de facto emergency regulations not usually seen outside of war – in stark contrast to a gathering global trend towards dropping Covid-19 regulations altogether.

South Africa remains under de facto emergency regulations not usually seen outside of war – in stark contrast to a gathering global trend towards dropping Covid-19 regulations altogether.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex yesterday announced that Covid-19 regulations would be lifted a month before France’s national election. One effect is that people will not have to be masked while voting.

Countries that have lifted all mask and other internal Covid mandates include Denmark, Norway, Tanzania, Iceland, Sweden, and the Republic of Ireland.

Announcing the return of pre-Covid civil rights, Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin said “we need to see each other again; we need to see each other smile; we need to sing again”.

But South Africa, by contrast, is almost halfway between President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement of a three-week lockdown in 2020 and its next presidential election.

South Africa continues to have its Parliament overruled by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), set up to last forever, which is anti-scientific, and which serves as another potential avenue for cronyism.

Said IRR Head of Campaigns Gabriel Crouse: "French ‘kisses’ are back. The French government had some of the world’s most draconian mandates, but is suddenly willing to drop the vaccine pass and tolerate official ‘bises’. Perhaps South Africans have something to learn about how politicians react to pressure, which, outside of elections, must be applied through active citizenship."

More than 20 000 South Africans have signed the IRR's petition to disband the Command Council, end the State of Disaster and amend the Disaster Management Act to stop another indefinite usurpation of parliamentary oversight. A private member’s bill that would have achieved the latter goal, tabled by the FF+, was recently defeated.

Persistence is required on the part of citizens actively trying to restore civil rights. It is worth noting that under pressure official attitudes and actions do change.

At the start of the year French President Emmanuel Macron said he was willing to "enmerde" [put in the sh*t] voters who rejected his vaccine mandates and he claimed that people who did not get vaccinated were not real French citizens.

But when Macron officially announced his re-election bid yesterday this coincided with Castex's statements on a "new phase" of lifting Covid-19 restrictions. Castex is a Macron appointee.

South Africa should be in a better position, since its age-adjusted deaths from Omicron were lower than countries like France, despite South Africa’s having half France's vaccination rate. A recently peer-reviewed study showed that most Gautengers had already recovered from Covid-19 "before the Omicron wave" and were thus in a strong position to face the last wave, a trend fitting the national norm. [https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2119658]

With evidence like this in mind the IRR renewed its questions to the Presidency, asking it to explain why the NCCC exists, how it works, and what scientific evidence there is that its superpowers are presently doing anything other than harm democratic norms.

The Presidency has promised an answer by March 9.

Members of the public who wish to support the IRR’s call to have the NCCC disbanded can do so at https://irr.org.za/campaigns/disband-command-council.

 

Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR Head of Campaigns – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za

Chris Hattingh, IRR Deputy Head of Campaigns – 083 600 8688; chris@irr.org.za

 

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

 

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