The government said on Wednesday it has noted the high court’s ruling, which declared that COVID-19 level 3 and 4 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid.
The Liberty Fighters Network, which argued that the lockdown restrictions were unlawful and unconstitutional brought the case.
Another non-profit organization, the Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, calling itself “the African Empowerment” addressed the court as a friend of the court [amicus curiae].
Judge J Davis has suspended the invalid period of the judgment for 14 days.
The government said in a statement: “This means that the level 3 alert rules are still in effect.”
The Court also ordered the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to consult with ministers concerned to review, edit and reissue the Regulations, and “take into account the limitations of the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Human Rights.”
The statement said: “The Cabinet will issue a statement after studying the verdict.”
The government said it has adopted these five levels to slowly and surely reopen the economy after the pandemic saw various businesses shut down as measures to curb the spread of the virus.
1. The regulations promulgated by the Minister of Cooperation and Traditional Affairs (“the Minister”) in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 are declared unconstitutional and invalid.
- The declaration of invalidity is suspended until such time as the Minister, after consultation with the relevant cabinet minister/s, review, amend and re-publish the regulations mentioned above (save for regulations 36, 38, 39(2)(d) and (e) and 41 of the regulations promulgated in respect of Alert Level 3) with due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution.
- The Minister is Directed to comply with the process ordered in paragraph 2 above within 14 (Fourteen) business days from date of this order, or such longer time as this court may, on good grounds shown, allow and to report such compliance to this court.
- During the period of suspension, the regulations published in Government Gazette No 43364 of 28 May 2020 as Chapter 4 of the regulations designated as: “Alert Level 3”, shall apply.
- The regulations pertaining to the prohibition on the sale of tobacco and related products is excluded from this order and is postponed sine die, pending the finalization of case no 21688/2020 in this court.
- The Minister is ordered to pay the costs of the first and second applicants. The amicus curiae shall pay its own costs.