DA to take government to court over decision to extend National State of Disaster

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Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen says the party intends to take government to court to challenge its decision to keep the country under the National State of Disaster.

It was extended for another month, with government saying there are measures still to be implemented before ending it.

Steenhuisen was speaking during a virtual media briefing.

He says, “The only State of Disaster that the country is in is the self-imposed one caused by these ongoing restrictions which do far more harm than good. It is time to focus all of our country’s energies on regaining what has been lost.”

“ Importantly, it is high time to restore our democratic order. The DA will not allow the State of Disaster to just be glibly extended month after month. We will stop it in court,” Steenhuisen adds.

He says the only regulation that must persist is that related to the social distress relief grant which enables people to pick up the pieces of their destroyed livelihoods.

“Such an unconstitutional power grab cannot be tolerated in an open democratic society like ours and its time for our citizens to come together and speak out about it. The Democratic Alliance is going to fight the state of disaster and lockdown until we end both. We urge you to stand with us if President Ramaphosa does not instruct his poverty cabinet to end both. We are going to see him in court and we are going to return our democracy to the hands of the people where it belongs.”

VIDEO: National State of Disaster extended until April 15: Prof. Alex van den Heever:

On Wednesday, Non-Profit Organisation, Dear SA, provided reasons behind its opposition to government’s extension of the National State of Disaster, saying there is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists.

Dear SA’s Director Gideon Joubert says South Africa is no longer in a pandemic.

“The reasons are very simple. It is because the reasons that give rise to the State of Disaster no longer exist. We are no longer in a pandemic, as we have seen decisions made by other countries, and we do have effective measures to deal with COVID-19 already in our toolbox. Also, in the event of a pandemic, government has the power to reinstitute a State of Disaster with the correct oversight. The reason given by the CoGTA Minister is because she needs time to amend laws and regulations. That does confirm, rationally, that we are no longer in an actual disaster,” says Joubert.

Two years of the National State of Disaster in SA: Dr Lesley Bamford:

Additional reporting by Busi Chimombe.