Business group Sakeliga will on Friday 15 May file papers in a landmark court case on the lockdown.
The litigation seeks to restore for businesses and non-profit organisations their right to trade without state-issued permits, irrespective of the lockdown level. Concurrently the litigation should also further the separation of powers that should exist between national, provincial, and local government, at a time when national government attempts unilateral exercise of power.
Sakeliga will ask the court to set aside virtually all permit requirements prescribed by national government, except for self-issued permits, and to order that law-enforcement may not obstruct businesses in this regard.
If successful, businesses and non-profit organisations will thereafter be able to do business much more easily, irrespective of the lockdown level. They would not need to display CIPC certificates, municipal permits, or any other permits related to the State of Disaster except their self-issued permits. Especially businesspersons and employees of small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organisations should gain valuable protection against arrests and other obstructions. Sakeliga’s litigation is undertaken amidst many cases of unlawful arrests, interference, and spurious permit requirements even where businesses, in their own and their lawyers’ estimation, find ways to do business within the regulations.
The relief sought will also correct the current situation, in which small and medium-sized enterprises experience additional burdens to commerce relative to big businesses, because most smaller business are unable to obtain CIPC certificates. Moreover, business and non-profits will no longer be forced to seek additional municipal, provincial or departmental permits relating to the state of disaster – something that has to date been especially detrimental to small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profits.
Local and provincial government’s right to not be held to unlawful permit-related instructions from national government will also be strengthened.
Sakeliga welcomes the wave of litigation currently undertaken by political parties, civil society organisations, industry organisations, and others. In important ways it pushes back against government’s one-sided, arbitrary, and harmful state of disaster measures. Unfortunately government is evidently not interested in consultation and steps in line only after litigation or the application of other forms of significant pressure.
Further details will be made available after filing of papers.