In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has, reportedly, decimated populations around the world, the South African government came up with far-reaching interventions ostensibly to “flatten the curve” of the infection rate of this pandemic in the country.
This paper explores the constitutionality and rationality of some of those interventions. The two principal questions it asks – and seeks to answer – are
- why has government elected to anchor its intervention to fight a virus in the Disaster Management Act which seems designed to deal with other types of disasters?
- what is the rational connection between some of these interventions, on the one hand, and purposes specifically set out in the empowering legislation, on the other?
Along the way, an attempt is made at addressing some of the arguments that have been advanced in defence of the measures that government has taken to “flatten the curve” of Covid-19 infections.
Read the full paper here Covid-19-Regulations-Rationality-and-Constitutionality FINAL1
A very good attempt at trying to explain this from a legal perspective. What I suspect, as is often the case with our government, is that knowledge sat with technocrats (NICD) no one ever listens to. I’m also of the view that the government never took time to really work on the Disaster Management Act (DMA), the focus may have been on having the piece of legislation, but no one ever thought of gong through the trigger steps, as well as the implementation steps. Quite unfortunately, this is not the forté of politicians, but they’ll always want to be part of it.
The questions that you pose are important; why the DMA and not the other? That error may have lead to other problems. The legislation, whether correctly or incorrectly applied, still leaves us with one problem: few were ready to implement it, fewer had an inkling of what was happening. Our defence force MAY have been taught how to behave during a lockdown period, but we may have seen from one of their leaders speaking of “skop en donner”… clearly the point was missed right there.
I HOPE by the end of this, the government would have developed measures that reverses the ills we have experienced. I understand Disaster Management and Continuity quite well, and I can spend time pointing the faults, but I live with the hope that these can be reversed. Real-time decisions are seldom correct, but with more data and time, they can be reversed… may our government work on the latter.
I really like the rationality test you’ve put up, gives one time to ponder
Thank you very much SC
Thank you, Tebogo, for your comment.