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Another legal challenge over government's Covid-19 laws as Helen Suzman Foundation heads to court

28 July 2020 - 16:24 By Naledi Shange
The Helen Suzman Foundation wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to hand back power to parliament. File photo.
The Helen Suzman Foundation wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to hand back power to parliament. File photo.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has launched another legal challenge to government's Covid-19 laws.

The organisation said in a statement on Tuesday that it had filed court papers seeking an order directing both parliament and the executive to take immediate steps to ensure that they “reclaim and restore the respective powers of parliament and the executive”.

The foundation said it believed that the Disaster Management Act, which put power that should belong to the executive and parliament into the hands of co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was meant to have only been a temporary measure.

“In the aftermath of the declaration of the state of disaster, the HSF submits, parliament and the executive ought actively to have taken steps to reclaim their constitutionally assigned roles. They have failed to do so. Instead, for four months, they permitted the minister, alone or with the National Coronavirus Command Council, to legislate the state's response to Covid-19.

“They appear content to allow their ultimate authority to be exercised by others, seemingly for as long as Covid-19 poses a threat,” read a statement from the foundation.

The HSF said it may have been justified to enforce such for a limited period but the situation should have changed once parliament and the executive had gathered themselves.

It stressed that this move was in no way meant to jeopardise the work of Cogta nor the command council.

“No explicit attack is made on the policy choices or value judgments embodied in existing regulations, nor will the regulations fall away before parliament passes the required laws. The application seeks to restore the primacy of our constitutional dispensation,” it said.

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