Recently Sakeliga submitted comments on proposed amendments by the Department of Health to the regulations relating to the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions.
You can read our full (3-page) submission here: https://sakeliga.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2022-04-21-Sakeliga-submission-on-National-Health-Act-Notifiable-Medical-Conditions-Regulations-1.pdf
We regard the proposed regulations to be detrimental to public health, unsound in law, and economically and socially harmful. The regulations constitute an attempt to give the public the impression that the national state of disaster on Covid-19 is being lifted when, in fact, it continues by another name. We maintain that the proposed regulations are so severely flawed that they are irreparable and should be abandoned in their entirety.
Why does Sakeliga believe these regulations must be opposed? Because they are an attempt to set up a permanent and draconian health management bureaucracy that seeks to impose even more red tape and compliance burdens on companies and private institutions, instrumentalise business to carry out state policy and to establish a monitored society, and use regulatory compliance requirements to infringe upon corporate independence and risk management autonomy and flexibility.
Onerous and unnecessary new health regulations make it even harder to do business, raise administrative costs and burdens, make conditions unattractive for staff and customers, and create a whole raft of petty rules and regulations which open up scope for corruption, mismanagement, tender abuse and more. Policies such as these put more power and influence in the hands of state functionaries who understand little about what it takes to create value and deliver quality goods and services at affordable prices.
We have been advised that the Minister’s approach in framing the draft regulations undermines the rule of law and the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature, and is therefore unconstitutional.
Sakeliga has also considered the comments of several and diverse public health and medical researchers and scientists and attached their opinions to our submission. We find these analyses comprehensive and significant in that, even while they were done independently and while there are differences between them, both reject the proposed regulations in toto, and consider it too flawed for remedy. They argue that South Africa’s existing laws and regulations are already adequate for responding to pandemics, leaving room only for recommendations rather than instructions.
Our position is as follows:
- Covid-19 is not fit for classification as a notifiable medical condition.
- There is no need to alter the existing regulations to deal with Covid-19, so the proposed regulations, having been developed for that purpose, lack a reasonable basis.
- The extension of the draconian powers used to deal with Covid-19 to a long list of other conditions on a permanent basis would turn South Africa into a monitored society where freedom, privacy, and commerce would be unduly hindered and deprived.
- The powers which the Minister affords himself in the regulations (in respect of any current or future notifiable medical conditions) are ultra vires, draconian, and unconstitutional.
- The proposed regulations should be withdrawn.
We insist that the proposed regulations should not be promulgated and have instructed our legal team to prepare for litigation (or to assist others in litigation where appropriate), in the event that a version of the proposed regulations were to be promulgated.
Piet le Roux – CEO
Russell Lamberti – Executive Director: Research and Strategy