Legal Challenges Taken Against South Africa’s New Lockdown Rules

There are a number of legal challenges on the horizon for the South African government around the level 4 lockdown restrictions due to them being seen as overreaching on key issues. 

One of the main issues in the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products. The government has indicated that this point will not be referred for mediation as they don’t believe that there is anything to negotiate. 

The largest cigarette manufacturer, British American Tobacco has given Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma until the 4thMay for the decision to be reversed or they will face court.

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association has also been consulting with its attorneys and has said that they will also be fighting this decision. 

Fita chairperson, Sinenhanhla Mnguni has said that illicit cigarettes are coming into the country through its borders and the government is losing billions, which could have been used in the fiscus. He also said that South Africans should be able to choose if they smoke or not. 

Overreaching of the NCC

There is also a legal challenge against President Ramaphosa over the role of the country’s National Command Council or NCC. 

Reported by The Sunday Independent, a group of attorneys are arguing that the NCC has effectively displaced statutory and constitutional bodies and in terms of the formation of restrictions they are overreaching. In a column for the same paper, Vuyani Ngalwana an advocate said that there needs to be clarity in terms of the power and legality of the NCC. He also said that the body appears to have no real legislative or constitutional existence. 

And What About Schools

Another legal challenge that the government is facing is over the early reopening of the country’s schools. On Tuesday, the Department of Basic Education will be taken to court to prevent the reopening of schools during level 4 according to the City Press. 

The case is being brought by the African Institute for Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation and The Tebeila Institute for Leadership, Education, Governance and Training as they believe that you can’t keep parents at home to prevent the spread of the virus whilst sending children to school to save the academic year. 

The Department of Basic Education, on Thursday, adjusted its proposed school calendar for 2020 to later in the year because of the ongoing concerns around Covid-19. Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said that there isn’t a date yet for when pupils will go back to school and that from the 4thMay only the schooling sector will be open. Once administrative work is completed and has received approval from cabinet, then only the final dates for the school calendar will be published. 

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