Government could face another legal challenge to lockdown regulations
Government could face another legal challenge over its lockdown regulations.
Attorneys for civil rights group DearSA have written a letter to co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma challenging the ban on online retailing and the limitation on the hours people are allowed to exercise outside their homes.
The organisation said it had requested that the government amend the Covid-19 lockdown regulations to allow for all forms of online retailing on the grounds that this would support, rather than impede, the campaign to stop the spread of the virus.
The group is also demanding that people be allowed to do outdoor exercises outside the stipulated hours of between 6am and 9am.
DearSA has given Dlamini-Zuma until next Thursday to respond or face legal action.
“Our client, however, trusts that unnecessary litigation could be avoided and look forward to your urgent response,” reads the letter written by Hurter Spies Incorporated.
The letter raises concerns that government decisions over the lockdown are ad hoc rather than data-driven, which has resulted in a potential massive economic overkill.
“Our client is not asking for all lockdown measures to be revoked. However, the current restrictions on e-commerce play a limited role in stopping the spread of the virus and they play a big role in hampering the economy,” the letter reads.
According to the organisation, various economic studies, show that a prolonged lockdown will have a devastating affect on the economy, with the construction sector likely to suffer a 30% decline in employment.
“The effect of the lockdown will be a massive decline in the demand and supply of many industries, with particularly severe effects in the service sectors, such as restaurants, entertainment, tourism, travel and hotels, according to SA-TIE,” the organisation said.
“Lockdown measures cannot stop the virus from spreading, but they can slow down the speed of infections. Lockdowns will not save the lives of those who contract Covid-19 and do not require hospitalisation.
“They also do not save the lives of those who contract the virus and would sadly and regrettably succumb to the disease even if they gained access to an ICU bed. They only assist those who contract the virus and would survive if they were hospitalised but are unable to receive such care because the health system has been overrun.”
The organisation says it is calling for a reasonable approach to regulations aimed at addressing the public health issue.