The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) welcomes the judgements of the Pretoria High Court in the matter between Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association, and the President of the Republic of South Africa, and the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as the judgement of the Western Cape High Court on an application brought by few individuals, to declare the lockdown regulations invalid, and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) declared inconsistent with the Constitution and the Disaster Management Act. Both cases were dismissed with costs.
The Chairperson of the committee, Ms Faith Muthambi, said that on 15 March 2020, Dr Dlamini-Zuma declared a National State of Disaster in terms of section 27 (1) of the Act, due to the Covid-19 pandemic which was new, there was no antivirus and thousands of people around the world had died. The lockdown was necessary as South Africa needed enough time to put measures in place to cope with the rise of the infected cases. These lockdown regulations were not meant to be punitive, but for the protection of all the people living in South Africa.
In its meeting, the committee dealt with the unintended consequences arising out of the lockdown regulations such as the prohibition of movement, sale of tobacco, closure of schools, universities, salons, restaurants and places of worship amongst others.
Although these regulations seemed harsh and many felt that they infringed on their rights and were unconstitutional, there was no other way to protect the people than to curtail their movement to flatten the curve and to keep them safe.
Considering that Cape Town is the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as we are going into the peak, Ms Muthambi welcomes the judgement of the Western Cape High Court and calls on all the people, especially in the City of Cape Town region, to adhere to the level 3 lockdown regulations to prevent the rise of infections.
Ms Muthambi said the judgement of the Pretoria High Court is welcomed as it promotes and protects the right to life and the right of access to the healthcare facilities. Furthermore, Ms Muthambi said the judgement of the Western Cape High Court acknowledges the decisions that the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs made together with the NCCC to do what is necessary and what is required to ensure that the people of South Africa are safe.