Department of Health has been deleting emails, says FOR SA

SA citizens have until Friday to make submissions to the Department of Health on the draft health regulations which could grant the health minister power to limit their constitutional freedoms without any parliamentary oversight

With just three days left for South Africans to comment on controversial draft health regulations indications are that the government will face multiple challenges to its plans to perpetuate executive rule after the lifting of the state of disaster, says Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) executive director Michael Swain. 

In a press release yesterday FOR SA said they have been made aware that multiple emails from citizens containing their comments on the regulations have been deleted by the Department of Health without these emails and/or submissions being opened or read.

“We believe this is a fatal flaw in the whole process – you cannot ask for public comment and then go and delete comments when they come in and are perhaps not what you want, So we will definitely be challenging the process as a whole,” Swain told Gateway News in an interview. 

FOR SA says it has written to the Minister of Health, not only to alert the department of “this severe breach of due process” but also to ask how the department will ensure that every deleted comment made by members of the public will be recovered and duly considered. Swain said they had not yet received a response from the minister.

Last chance to have your say
Meanwhile, he urged citizens to use the Dear South Africa website to make submissions on the regulations during the vital last few days for comments before Friday. An advantage of using the Dear SA platform is that it logs every email sent and every email that reaches the department of health – and it keeps a record of every submission. Every submission counts and will help to defend religious freedoms threatened by the regulations, said Swain.

He said public participation – both through email campaigns promoted by religious, political and civil society groups and through physical signed submissions being collected by organisations with extensive grassroots reach – is going to be substantial. A massive “NO” vote from the public will provide a strong foundation for mounting a legal challenge should the government try to push the regulations through.

Swain said he also expects that pressure will be applied on the government through a report from the CRL Rights Commission. FOR SA recently asked the commission to intervene in the substantial conflict between the government and the religious sector as a whole over the regulations. He said the government will not be able to simply ignore a report from the CRL Commission which is a chapter nine organisation whose mandate includes promoting and protecting the religious sector.

About 750 people marched from Church Square, Pretoria to the Union Buildings on March 21 to protest against mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, vaccination of children and the ongoing state of disaster (PHOTO: File picture)

Pressure is also being applied on the street by the ACDP which, according to a post on its Facebook page, is hosting several public protests aimed at defending religious freedom. Today — at the time of publishing this report — the ACDP is marching from Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg to the Constitutional Court where a memorandum will be handed to the Minister of Justice. At 10am tomorrow (Thursday April 14) they will protest in front of Parliament in Cape Town to defend the right of churches to meet without a number of restrictions or need to produce vaccine certificate or proof of recent Covid-free test results. And on Freedom Day, on April 27, when they will meet at Beyers Naude Square and march to the Constitutional Court to defend religious freedoms and hand a memorandum to the Minister of Justice.

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  1. Dipsy Wechoemang

    I support the campaign against vaccination. It is against the bill of rights contained in chapter 2 of the Constitution. No one must be forced to be injected by something that we don’t even know the contents thereof.
    For Health reasons, I do not want to be vaccinated. It has been said that this causes blood clotting and I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, clotting of the blood. What about. Revelations 13:16-18, I believe entirely on this scripture and everything about mandatory vaccination points to we will not buy or sell if we do not have the mark of the beast. If the vaccinated can still have it and transmit it, so what is the point. I had it and was able to come out of it through ivermectin. Why is this kept a secret. Please assist us in the public service. I want to serve my country but not through forced vaccination.

    • Dipsy Wechoemang

      Please let us fight a good fight of faith. It cannot be that we are restricted in churches in terms of numbers yet our masks are always on from begining to end of the service, whereas clubs and restaurants where there is drinking and eating where masks are off, they are not required to have vaccination certificate and they are not forced to wear masks right through from entry to exit🙃🙃🥲🥲