The government’s lockdown regulations are “no longer rationally connected” to slowing the spread of Covid-19, are not well thought out and consequently encroach on the Bill of Rights.
In a North Gauteng High Court judgment on Tuesday, judge Norman Davis declared that the regulations promulgated by cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were “unconstitutional and invalid”.
However, the lockdown regulations will remain in place – for the next two weeks, anyway.
Davis suspended the declaration of invalidity for 14 days, giving the government time to “review, amend and republish regulations” which were consistent with the constitution.
The government said it is studying the judgment.
The matter was brought before the court on an urgent basis last week – it was heard on May 28 – by an organisation called Liberty Fighters Network. The Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, which previously lost a bid in the Constitutional Court to have the lockdown declared unconstitutional in March, also joined the application as a friend of the court.
The judge ruled that the establishment of the state of disaster was in itself valid, but was critical of the regulations promulgated. He was also critical of the government’s seemingly lax response in responding to the case.
Davis said the case was initially set down for May 19, but the minister’s office – which was given an “admittedly short time” to respond – didn’t do so in time. An extension was then negotiated by the state attorney for May 22, but this “deadline was also missed”.