The Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed the Constitutional Court directive to consider the party’s application to obtain direct access to challenge the Disaster Management Act at the highest court in the land. The party announced in mid-May its intentions to file court papers over a number of issues, including forcing the government to lift the lockdown entirely to allow full economic activity to start and the constitutionality of aspects of the Disaster Management Act.

In the video below, the DA and FF+ say they are headed to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Disaster Management Act. 

The party says President Cyril Ramaphosa and COGTA Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were arguing that the DA not be granted the direct access.

“They are effectively seeking to delay an answer to the central question of whether the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC) is legitimate,” the party said in a statement.

The Constitutional Court has given the DA until 5 June to motivate for direct access to the Court while Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma have until 12 June to argue why such access should not be granted to the party.

The party says that should it be refused direct access, it will first challenge the Disaster Management Act at the high court, which will allow for a scope for an appeal of high court findings.

Should the party go with this approach, it could take months before the Constitutional Court is able to make a ruling on the matter.

The party said in a statement that in the meantime, the National Command Council (NCC)  is disregarding the separation of powers and that is not in the best interest of the country.

“In the meantime, South Africa’s fate is being determined by the NCC, a secretive council of questionable legitimacy that is making irrational decisions without executive oversight. Government is effectively usurping the legislative role, thereby disregarding the separation of powers which is the foundation of a constitutional democracy. This is simply not in the country’s best interest.”

The DA says should the Disaster Management Act not meet constitutional muster, it would mean the decisions taken by the Command Council are invalid.

“This opens the way for more rationality and accountability in the management of this pandemic and of our economy going forward,” the party said.

The party says the Command Council’s decisions have resulted in the world’s longest irrational lockdown. This, according to the DA, has destroyed millions of jobs.

“This has destroyed millions of jobs and lives, thousands of businesses, and wasted billions in tax revenue, without managing to keep control over the spread of the virus. It has brought on the worst of both worlds, both health and economic disaster, and turned decent people into criminals.”

The party says the lockdown needs to end soon.