Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Section 89

COGTA Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Image: Flickr.

Cause for concern? COGTA votes AGAINST proposal to limit lockdown powers

Tuesday proved to be a double-whammy for those wanting the State of Disaster to end – as COGTA rejected a major proposal in Parliament.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Section 89

COGTA Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Image: Flickr.

On the same day our State of Disaster for the COVID-19 pandemic was controversially extended by one month, COGTA’s Parliamentary Committee was also fighting tooth and nail to keep their lockdown powers in tact.

Bid to limit COGTA lockdown powers falls short

The Department’s Portfolio Committee voted AGAINST a motion that would limit its near-exclusive grip on the State of Disaster, and how our lockdown laws are implemented. The Bill, shot down on Tuesday, asked the ANC to:

  • Limit the power held by the executive in deciding the duration of our State of Disaster.
  • Give Parliament, provincial legislatures and municipal councils a say in whether lockdowns can be extended or not.
  • Allow local governments ‘greater oversight’ in managing a State of Disaster at a local level.

Why Dlamini-Zuma and her comrades aren’t giving up their lockdown powers just yet…

However, these pleas fell on deaf ears. Instead, COGTA representatives rejected the Bill, claiming that their regulation-power HAS been properly delegated to them, and therefore, the status quo should remain.

South Africa has now been subject to the department’s lockdown powers for the past two years. Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has the final say on approving amended regulations, and she is the last official to sign off on any declarations. However, her contentious policy decisions have led to her being branded an ‘irrational dictator’.

“Following consideration of extensive inputs received from interested stakeholders, the majority of committee members voted against adopting a motion of desirability on the bill.”

“Members also cited the Helen Suzman Foundation case, where the court held that Parliament did properly delegate regulation-making power in terms of disaster management, which fits into the broad constitutional scheme.”

COGTA statement

Parliament sides with COGTA on State of Disaster motion

The committee said the principle of the separation of powers was also emphasised in Parliament’s oversight and accountability model. The model outlines the current Parliamentary mechanism and practices, and highlights potential mechanisms to further strengthen its responsibilities for delegation.

“The principles of cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations must be taken into consideration, including the separation of powers and the need for all spheres of government.”

COGTA statement