The release of the new COVID-19 regulations under the National Health Act on Wednesday night have left many South Africans scratching their heads over gathering and mask regulations, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) questioning the Constitutional legality of the legislation.
The opposition party claim that several of the regulations were added at the 11th hour without being scrutinised through the public participation process that the act has endured since the State of Disaster was lifted over a month ago.
Michele Clarke, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Health said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that the DA will seek legal advice regarding the wearing of masks, venue capacity and international travel, saying that these were previously promulgated under the National State of Disaster.
“This is in addition to draft regulations that are currently open for public comments that aim to essentially force the use of Covid-vaccines and mandatory quarantines,” he said.
“The ANC government has now desperately added regulations to the Health Act to allow the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, unprecedented and far-reaching powers to impede on South Africans’ Constitutional rights. The legality of these regulations are questioned, as they are similar regulations that were previously used under Disaster Management Act, that has now lapsed.”Michael Clarke
Clarke said that the promulgated regulations in the amended National Health Act are not bound by a time-frame, and that South Africans are “thus expected to live under a perpetual ‘State of Disaster’.”
The DA will also maintained it’s opposition continue to the draft regulations to the Health Act that were been gazetted on 15 March 2022 saying that while the party supports vaccinations, they should not become mandatory.
Clarke condemned “irrational capacity restrictions” for venues, saying that these restrictions “continue to decimate small businesses and the arts and culture sectors”.
“In its draconian and single-minded determination to cling to its dwindling power, the ANC government is sacrificing economic recovery. With a government that has engineered every aspect of its governance to be as corrupt as possible, the various Ministers, cadres and cronies in positions of power do not have the same survival concerns as ordinary South Africans who continue to suffer and starve.”