Pushback against new lockdown rules proposed for South Africa

 ·30 Mar 2022

Businesses group Sakeliga says companies and individuals should refrain from supporting the new state of disaster regulations proposed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The group said it is also considering expanding its current litigation against the state of disaster and its regulations to account for the latest developments.

“Sakeliga rejects the latest regulations proposed under the state of disaster which now seek to keep ineffective and unnecessary measures in place unlawfully, even after the (already unlawful) state of disaster is lifted.

“In promulgating the proposed regulations, the minister would be acting ultra vires – that is, outside the bounds set for her by law. She may not continue to wield powers granted under the state of disaster after the state of disaster has been lifted.”

The appropriate and lawful course of action for the government is to completely abandon the state of disaster, along with all regulations made under it and all alternative regulations intended to replace it, the group said.

“Government’s continued insistence on prolonging its manifest policy disasters in the face of the latest employment data and when so many countries have withdrawn all Covid-19 regulations is revealing of how out of touch it is.

“The employment data shows that two million people are still unable to recover their jobs lost since the state of disaster was first declared and reckless lockdown restrictions implemented, while waves of new young entrants to the job market are unable to find work.”

Sakeliga has specifically discouraged businesses and the public from co-operating with the ‘divisive’ and ‘unhelpful’ distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.

“We encourage businesses to see these regulations as bait, which if taken serves to maintain the perception of a disaster and lend the state insidious legitimacy for permanent interference in these and more matters of business and life in which it has no jurisdiction.”

“Businesses should reject being used as enforcement arms for poor state policy.

“A government going down a destructive path such as this should know businesses oppose them, in the interests not only of repairing employment opportunities for millions of people ravaged by lockdown, but fundamentally to rebuild a flourishing economy and society devastated by decades of state incompetence and harmful policy.”

While the stepping down from the national state of disaster was welcomed by the Democratic Alliance, the party, too, expressed concerns that the national government was trying to hold onto powers afforded to it by the regulations.

“The DA regards the government’s climb-down on the continuous rolling over the national state of disaster as a victory, but we will not be celebrating yet,” it said.

“We are deeply concerned that this is only a tactical concession, and that the government intends to hang onto lockdown powers by using national health regulations.”

Read: New rules to replace South Africa’s state of disaster – what you should know

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