The High Court of South Africa (Gauteng Division, Pretoria) has held that some lock down regulations imposed by the Government in South Africa in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic are unconstitutional.
Judge Norman Davis observed that they do not meet the rationality test.
The Court ruled thus in a petition filed by the Liberty Fighters Network advocacy group who contended that the Government's reaction to the epidemic violated South Africa's Bill of Rights.The judge said:
"Once the Minister 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 starting point was not "how can we as government limit Constitutional rights in the least possible fashion whilst still protecting the inhabitants of South Africa?" but rather 'we will seek to achieve our goal by whatever means, irrespective of the cost and we will determine, albeit incrementally, which Constitutional rights you as the people of south Africa, may exercise".
However, the declaration has been suspended until such time as the Minister, after consultation with the relevant cabinet minister/s, review, amend an republish the regulations by giving due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution.This exercise has been ordered to be completed within fourteen days.
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