Parliament, Saturday, 4 July 2020 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Ms Faith Muthambi, welcomes the dismissal by the Constitutional Court of the application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for direct access in challenging whether the Disaster Management Act was compliant with the Constitution of South Africa.
The Minister of CoGTA, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, declared a national state of disaster in terms of section 27 (1) of the Act due to the Covid-19 pandemic which as previously said, was new to South Africa, there was no antivirus and had claimed thousands of lives across the world. The lockdown was necessary as measures needed to be put in place to prepare for the rise of patients requiring medical care. These lockdown regulations were taken after meetings were held with the relevant ministers who formed part of the National Command Centre.
“The lockdown regulations was meant to curtail movement in order to flatten the curve as we would have reached our peak much quicker and our health system would not have been able to cope with increased numbers of patients without adequate interventions being put in place", said Ms Muthambi.
“The DA challenged the Act as unconstitutional on three grounds, saying that the minister is given the power to legislate on almost every aspect of the lives of South Africans, which is what happens when a national disaster is declared; it permits the minister to place the nation under a state of emergency without being subjected to procedures and safeguards contained in section 37 of the Constitution; and it fails to ensure that the National Assembly can exercise the oversight role. This is not true as some members of the National Assembly have been on oversight all over the country visiting schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations, taxi ranks and municipalities. Many members are in their communities every day conducting oversight and providing feedback to their respective committees. Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who is the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Health, has been unwavering on conducting oversight over the health sector during this crisis.
“The court has ruled that it would not be in the interests of justice to hear the matter at this stage and we welcome that decision and urge the DA to work with government, especially during this time of Covid-19 where the demand for services is greater, and further call on all South Africans to continue to adhere to the lockdown regulations, wear your masks, limit unnecessary travel and stay at home and be safe,” said the Chairperson of CoGTA, Ms Faith Muthambi.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, MS FAITH MUTHAMBI.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the Committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Sureshinee Govender
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 2239
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