Afriforum curfew

South Africa – Pretoria – 28 January 2020 – Afriforum’s Head of Policy and Action Ernst Roets during the media briefing at their offices in Centurion.
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Afriforum: Court DISMISSES lobby group’s bid against curfew

Afriforum had argued to the High Court in Pretoria that the curfew was irrational and unlawful and must thus be set aside

Afriforum curfew

South Africa – Pretoria – 28 January 2020 – Afriforum’s Head of Policy and Action Ernst Roets during the media briefing at their offices in Centurion.
Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed an urgent bid by Afriforum, in which the lobby group had sought to have the night curfew declared unconstitutional.

The court struck Afriforum’s application off the roll, in a ruling delivered on Tuesday, 14 December 2021.

Under the current lockdown restrictions, citizens are not permitted outdoors between midnight and 04:00 – unless they are attending to medical emergencies or have a valid permit (these are usually work permits). Businesses are also not allowed to operate during the curfew hours. Those found violating this part of the National Disaster Management Act could face sanctions, including serving some prison time.

But Afriforum argued in its court papers that such an imposition as far as the curfew was concerned, was irrational – unlawful and unconstitutional – and should thus be set aside.

AFRIFORUM’S BID AGAINST CURFEW ‘NOT URGENT’

Delivering the judgement, Gauteng deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba found that Afriforum’s application was not urgent.

“I agree that the curfew does have an impact on the income of nightclubs especially during the festive season. However, I believe the question of the curfew is not solely directed to disempower the nightclubs financially. I don’t see any reason why this issue has to be dealt with urgently and it needs to be properly ventilated. There are constitutional issues involved in this matter”

Gauteng deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba

The curfew has been one of the most contentious parts of the lockdown restrictions. Since the country went into lockdown in March 2020, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has moved to amend it in the various lockdown levels, but it has never been completely scrapped, even when COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations were at an all-time low.

In its court papers, Afriforum argued that the curfew being imposed had a negative impact on businesses being able to operate, particularly as the festive season approaches. The lobby group stressed that it was not challenging the lockdown itself or the National Disaster Management Act, merely the curfew that has been imposed.