lockdown court state of disaster gavel

Photo: Pixabay

Another High Court case could ‘collapse South Africa’s lockdown’

Could the government suffer another shock defeat with regards to their lockdown laws? A new court case might, once again, invalidate our State of Disaster.

lockdown court state of disaster gavel

Photo: Pixabay

It seems the South African government is living through Groundhog Day with regards to its own lockdown regulations. Two weeks ago, the Pretoria High Court ruled that some Alert Levels were ‘invalid’, and gave Cabinet 14 days to change the rules before they appealed the judgment. A similar scenario is playing out on Wednesday.

Another court case to end lockdown – what’s going on?

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) have brought their case to the same venue. They are challenging the Constitutional merits of the Disaster Management Act – the legislation which covers all of our lockdown laws.

The fifth-most popular political party in South Africa argue that the framework – which also helped create the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) – is flawed, and decisions that are not directly made by Cyril Ramaphosa shouldn’t be allowed to stand on the basis of their ‘unconstitutional authority’.

Does the government have to end lockdown now?

The DA are also locked in a legal wrangle with the State of Disaster laws, approaching ConCourt over some similar issues. Essentially, the ANC’s political opposition feel that the extent of lockdown has reached too far.

We are still awaiting an update from the Pretoria High Court on their most recent battle with the government. Those 14 business days they initially gave Cabinet to make changes seem to have been ignored, with Jackson Mthembu confirmed that their appeal had been raised with the proper legal authorities.

What are the chances the FF Plus could win?

Currently, South Africa remains at Alert Level 3. But we’re expecting to move to an ‘Advanced Level 3’ shortly, allowing a few more industries to reopen. Should the FF Plus win this court case, the law of lockdown will be severely undermined and another order to collapse the legislation would be handed down.

However, as we’ve already seen this month, the government would not simply accept this judgment, and any victory for Pieter Groenewald’s party would likely be mitigated by yet another appeal. But this is by no means ‘mission impossible’ for the FF Plus, and given that civil litigation turned the government over at the start of June, their chances of forcing another upset remain alive and kicking.