Government bid to impose draconian health measures ‘falling apart’ but ‘keep sending submissions’ — FOR SA

Action 4 Freedom (NPC) legal team members Attorney Naven Pillay and Advocate Sabelo Sibanda at the High Court in Cape Town on April 14 to challenge the amount of time the Minister of Health has given the public to comment on draft amendments to health regulations

Government’s plans to keep on micro-managing citizens’ lives by amending health regulations are falling apart as a result of its failure to follow proper judicial and administrative process, said executive director of Freedom of Religion South Africa Michael Swain.

But my message is: “Keep sending in your submissions. Don’t take your foot off the pedal,” he said in an interview, urging citizens to send their comments using the Dear South Africa website.

On April 14 Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla announced in Parliament that he was extending the deadline for public comment on the amendments to the regulations by 10 days, until April 24. Initially he gave citizens 30 days to make submissions.

Paahla also said that the Department of Health has no desire to control people’s lives indefinitely and that the amendments regulations are aimed at controlling Covid-19 after the lifting of the state of disaster on April 4.

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Health minister taken to court
Meanwhile non-profit company Action 4 Freedom last week took the minster of health to court, challenging the amount of time granted for the public to comment on the proposed amendments. It says both the 30 days and the subsequent 10 extra days fall short of the minimum period of 90 days required by the Health Act and the Constitution. The matter was postponed to Tuesday April 26 to give the minister time to respond.

Swain said that he expects the court to rule against the Department of Health. He said the department was also caught out deleting a number of emailed submissions without opening or reading them, an action which he said “fatally flawed” the public participation process. Another apparent error, whereby the department gazetted the regulations twice and invited comments on the first draft, will also hurt the government’s case, he said.

Addressing concerns that the department might claim that public comments on its first draft amendments are not valid, he said both sets of regulations under the notice issued on March 15 are substantively the same. If the department did try to claim that comments on the first draft are invalid, “it would simply further undermine their already deeply flawed public participation process, which may well end up with the regulations being set aside in any event”, he said.

He said that by April 24, when the public comment process is supposed to end, the department will probably have received hundreds of thousands of submissions. It could take months to properly consider every submission as is required by law, and there is no way the government can implement the regulations by May 4, the closing date of the current interim state of disaster regulations, which he believes are unlawful anyway.

The government cannot renew the state of disaster regulations on May 4. “The only thing they can do is to declare a new state of national disaster. But upon what basis will they call it? If they don’t have a legitimate health disaster there is no rationale for calling it,” he said.

Everything falls away’
“It will mean that on the 4th of May the government will have no stopgap measures in place, by which point everything falls away. So there is no more mask wearing, no limitations on gatherings, and so on.

“And I don’t think at that stage the government will have a mechanism to replace the measures unless they try to do something totally underhand, at which point I think there will be a huge uproar because frankly, they just can’t justify these actions any more,” said Swain.

“Our hope – and what everybody should be hoping for, is that by sending those submissions in. we will get to the stage where we are literally free of these draconian, unnecessary micro management controls that government has brought into our lives over these past two and a half years. There may have been some rationale for them in the beginning. Certainly not now. And this should stop right now. It should stop today,” he said.

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  1. Dennis Neville Stirk

    Nothing this present ANC has done benefits anything but their own corrupt and greedy desires. They are becoming increasingly useless to promote the wealth of our beloved land, and can only have a damaging hidden agenda of take-overs that will change the future to the benefit of themselves, and outside forces. If the electorate are gullible to failed promises, then we will all reap a whirlwind of complete change.

  2. I agree nothing this ANC government does is correct, but CORRUPT. If anybody in their party speaks out about them, they are hauled before SCOPA and then put on suspension. The whole country is falling apart and going to the dogs. Our roads are in chaos, the hospitals are in dire straights, schools are falling apart, municipalities are not giving us the service we pay for, Eskom is an absolute disaster, unemployment has risen out of proportion, the poor are neglected, water is in short supply, home affairs department is an absolute disaster, and there is so much more to say. What should we think or do about the Premier of KZN who ordered a water truck to deliver water to his home while his people and the whole of KZN is queuing and begging for water!!
    The ANC government has ruined South Africa completely, while they are in the ‘pound seats’ and still we have people supporting them and voting for them – it boggles my mind!!!!

  3. The government has no right to take away the freedom of South Africans. So many people live in very poor circumstances, because money we stolen during Covid-19. Now they cannot take any more freedom away. It is against the will of South Africans.