Judge rules against the government’s lockdown in High Court Verdict.
By Seth Meyer
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 6 of VARSITY News.
On Tuesday, 2nd June, Judge Norman Davis of the North Gauteng High Court, declared lockdown regulations proclaimed by Minister Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma as “unconstitutional and invalid”. The verdict from the court has been suspended for 14 days to allow the South African government time to “review, amend and republish regulations” The verdict comes as a victory for the complainant, an organisation known as the Liberty Fighters Network (LFN).
Speaking to News24, LFN President, Reyno De Beer, described his motivation for filing the court application as stemming from the number of calls for assistance that the organisation received in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. The organisation seemingly deals with helping in legal issues. De Beer is quoted as describing the lockdown as “unreasonable” and that after being disappointed at the minimal challenge from opposition parties against the government lockdown, he resolved to take the matter to court, on the grounds that some lockdown rules were irrelevant and irrational in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The case was heard in court on May 28th, with Judge Davis subsequently ruling in favour of De Beer’s application, stating that the declaration of a national disaster by the government was indeed legitimate, but several regulations within the government’s lockdown were “no longer rationally connected” to slowing the spread and infringe on the Bill of Rights.
Says the judgement, “The clear inference I draw from the evidence is that once the minister [Dlamini-Zuma] had declared a national state of disaster and once the goal was to ‘flatten the curve’ by way of retarding or limiting the spread of the virus – all very commendable and necessary objectives – little or in fact no regard was given to the extent of the impact of individual regulations on the constitutional rights of people and whether the extent of the limitation of their rights was justifiable or not.”
The government now has two weeks to review this judgement and is reported to be studying the case.