Mask laws COVID-19 restrictions

The end of the State of Disaster won’t necessarily mean the end of COVID mitigations – Image: Adobe Stock

SA’s remaining mask laws ‘could be overturned’ – due to NEW legal battle

Are the mask laws of Mzansi set to run their course? A major court challenge is looming over the government’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

Mask laws COVID-19 restrictions

The end of the State of Disaster won’t necessarily mean the end of COVID mitigations – Image: Adobe Stock

The remaining COVID-19 restrictions that were adopted into the National Health Act earlier this year are facing their sternest challenge yet, with current mask laws now the subject of a legal challenge filed by one of South Africa’s largest trade unions, Solidariteit.

What COVID-19 restrictions remain in South Africa?

The group has written to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, asking him to remove the restrictions permanently. It was confirmed back in April that the State of Disaster rules would come to an end, but some mitigations to help stop the spread of COVID-19 were extended.

This contradictory position has irked the critics, who remain upset about certain limitations. South Africans are still required to wear masks in busy indoor spaces, and stadiums can only open at a reduced capacity. Gatherings, international travel, and public transport are also affected.

Mask laws in the firing line, thanks to new court challenge

Solidariteit will take their complains to court next month, should Phaahla decide against scrapping mask laws and other restrictions. They issued a statement on Monday, accusing the government of ‘diverting away from the science’ and ignoring immunity levels across the country.

  • If the minister does not withdraw the restrictions – including mask laws – Solidarity will ask for a punitive costs order.
  • The application will then be argued in court on 25 – 27 July 2022.
  • The trade union is giving the government an ultimatum, asking them to drop restrictions before this scheduled court date.
  • Phaahla is accused of ‘ignoring his own advisory council’, which indicated that wearing masks outdoors could not be scientifically justified.
  • ‘Thousands of comments’ had not even been processed when the regulations were published, according to Solidariteit.

Mask laws ‘should never have been made permanent’ – Solidariteit

Leading scientists, such as Shabir Madhi and Salim Abdool Karim, have previously questioned the need for extended laws now we are out of the ’emergency phase’ of this pandemic. Solidariteit CEO, Dirk Hermann, believes current mask laws are more about ‘power and control’ over anything else.

“These regulations are not about masks, but about power and control. Through these regulations, the minister wants to turn the temporary COVID-19 controls into permanent controls.”

“The measures introduced were insufficient to prevent the spread of the virus, but the same measures are now being promulgated again in new regulations. The substantive immunity of the population through vaccinations and infections is also not taken into account.”

Dirk Hermann