Sakeliga strongly recommends that businesspersons and other members of the public obtain proper legal advice for their unique situations before trying to confront gaps and illegalities in the lock down regulations.
“No one should break a legitimate regulation. However, the reality is that the ambiguities in the regulations, court rulings, contradictory ministerial pronouncements and economic distress force people into unclear legal positions, whether they intentionally confront regulations or not. Sakeliga therefore emphasises: obtain proper legal advice before trying to challenge or daringly interpret the lock down regulations, so that you understand the risks of your actions to yourself, your staff, and customers and clients.”
So says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, in light of wide-spread economic distress and the credibility crisis of the regulations, lack of communication from government, and ongoing legal uncertainties.
“An example of regulatory confusion is the implications of the Liberty Fighters Network case (LFN case). It is true that court rulings on this mean that the government only has until July 14th, 2020 to correct certain regulations, including unlawful criminalisation clauses. One interpretation of the verdict – which our legal advice states is not correct – would be that the criminalisation of certain alcohol and cigarette sales cannot lead to prosecution. Sakeliga warns against this interpretation. We have been provided with legal advice that any action in violation of the regulations – whether criminal or not – could have legal consequences, including for example arrest in the case of refusal to execute police instructions.”
On 7 July 2020, Sakeliga wrote to ministers Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Bheki Cele, asking them to address the uncertainty following judgments in the LFN case. Sakeliga requested that they 1) instruct the SAPS that no arrests for violations of certain lock down regulations relevant to the LFN case may take place; and 2) disclose those new standing instructions in the public interest.
“We emphasise: many of the lock down regulations are unconstitutional and unreasonable. The actions of some ministers during this Covid-19 period were even harmful, disgraceful and petty, despite efforts by others to protect public health in good faith. The unnecessary economic damage of the lock down, which could have been approached very differently, creates an acute challenge for people wanting to put food on the table. Given these factors, it is understandable that people would want to challenge the regulations, but it should not be done without careful consideration of personal legal positions and without personal legal advice.”
Sakeliga once again calls on ministers Dlamini-Zuma and Cele to clarify their standing instructions to the SAPS as well as to correct the various lock down regulations that have been found unconstitutional.