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South Africa’s Lockdown Restrictions Ruled “Unconstitutional and Invalid”

Lockdown measures unconstitutional in South Africa

The Pretoria High Court has found that the coronavirus lockdown measures imposed by the South African government are not linked to curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and has given the government 14 days to overhaul regulations.

After high levels of support for South Africa’s decision to enforce a strict lockdown in March, many South Africans have not been happy with the rules and regulations put in place by the government as it attempts to slow the spread of the virus. Among many of the controversial rules was the ban of cigarettes and alcohol. Alcohol sales resumed this week as the country shifted from level four of the tiered lockdown phases to level three. South Africa has enforced one of the strictest lockdowns efforts in the world.

Now, in a case filed by a community group, Liberty Fighters Network, who challenged the government’s response measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Pretoria High Court has ruled in the group’s favour, finding the restrictions to be “unconstitutional and invalid”.

In the judgement passed on Tuesday, it found that “the regulations are not rationally connected to the objectives of slowing the rate of infection or limiting the spread thereof,” according to BBC. However, the judgement has been suspended for two weeks in order to give the government time to overhaul the regulations.

In a statement released by the South African government, it said that regulations will remain in place for the time being but that rules and the judgement will be studied and amended.

“The court has further directed the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in consultation with the relevant Ministers to review, amend and republish the regulations with “due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights”.

Cabinet will make a further statement once it has fully studied the judgement,” said Cabinet spokesperson, Phumla Williams.

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