state of disaster extension

President Ramaphosa speaking to Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma / Image via GCIS

Validity of Ramaphosa’s ‘Coronavirus Command Council’ questioned

In a response to several Parliamentary questions from Glynnis Breytenbach, Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed the NCCC wasn’t formed from any “legal act”.

state of disaster extension

President Ramaphosa speaking to Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma / Image via GCIS

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has copped a fair amount of criticism during its three-month lifespan. The decision-making body is crucial in laying down the law of lockdown, but according to a recent Parliamentary response from Cyril Ramaphosa, their creation went “off-piste”.

Ramaphosa challenged on Cabinet’s decision-making body

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach asked the president “which existing Act of Parliament, regulation or provision of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa did [Ramaphosa] rely on when he established the NCCC?”

The president’s response revealed that the NCCC’s legal footing is, shall we say, a little hollow. He confirmed that the decision to establish a new role for Cabinet was solely taken by serving ministers. In other words, there was nothing in any legal framework that instructed the president to create this council.

“The NCCC co-ordinates government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCCC makes recommendations to Cabinet on measures required in terms of the national state of disaster.”

“Cabinet makes the final decisions. The National Coronavirus Command Council [NCCC] – originally known as the NCC – was established as a committee of Cabinet by the Cabinet in its meeting of 15 March 2020.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

NCCC – what does the National Coronavirus Command Council do?

The NCCC has gained something of a reputation for ‘influencing’ the president. However, Ramaphosa has claimed it was his idea to allow the Council the authority to write the expanded legal definitions of our lockdown laws at each alert level, with individual ministry’s drafting rules relevant to their departments.

This has generated rumours of a power struggle between our head of state and the official NCCC leader, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The less said about the cigarette sales u-turn, the better. But President Ramaphosa is backing his colleagues – even if his Parliamentary answer casts doubt over the group’s reason for existence. It’s arguably the first Cabinet task team to have an existential crisis…

Ramaphosa was also asked whether the NCCC had taken over or was duplicating the powers, responsibilities and functions of the Intergovernmental Committee on Disaster Management and the National Disaster Management Advisory Forum or National Disaster Management Centre

Cyril answered no to the query