The government has ended the State of Disaster in name only while trying to retain permanent unlawful powers

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The National State of Disaster is ending in name, but the government is not relinquishing its regulatory powers obtained under it – this is what yesterday’s announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa entailed. Sakeliga rejects replacing temporary disaster measures with permanent interventions and will therefore continue its work to oppose such measures and restore normality. 

We are considering litigation and other options as a matter of urgency. Evidently, the government is “lifting” the temporary national state of disaster merely to stave off active litigation and loss of legitimacy, by couching it in new political configurations designed for permanency. The following should be noted:  

  1. The current regulations will (illegally) remain in place for at least the next 30 days.  
  1. New Occupational Health and Safety codes, establishing a costly edifice of Covid-compliance for employers, came into effect this morning. 
  1. Regulations under the National Health Act are being finalised for implementation 30 days from now. The draft version of these have been widely criticised as costly, harmful, irrational, and setting up unaccountable government. 

In the next few weeks, businesses, churches, employees, schools, universities, civil society organisations, and the public in all other spheres of society need to decide whether or not to comply with the new regulatory regime. Crucial decisions lie ahead, about not only litigation but also compliance and refusal, in the face of such abuse of power by the state.