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Your Covid-19 questions answered

Will the national coronavirus command council be disbanded now that the state of disaster has ended?

30 May 2022 - 07:05
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the national coronavirus command council will continue to meet. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the national coronavirus command council will continue to meet. File photo.
Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) will continue to meet, despite the state of disaster over the pandemic being lifted.

The council was started in March 2020 in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic. It consists of several ministers and stakeholders.

In his address to the nation at the beginning of the national state of disaster, Ramaphosa said the council would “meet three times a week to co-ordinate all aspects of our extraordinary emergency response”.

It made several controversial decisions, including bans on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products.

After 750 days, the national state of disaster was lifted last month. However, Ramaphosa said the council will live on.

In response to a written parliamentary question from DA MP Dean Macpherson, Ramaphosa said the council will remain as a committee within cabinet.

He said the council did not depend on the national state of disaster to exist.

“The NCCC continues to perform this function since, although the national state of disaster has been lifted, the Covid-19 pandemic is unfortunately not yet over,” Ramaphosa said.

He explained how the council will work.

“The NCCC was established as a committee of cabinet by the cabinet in its meeting of March 15 2020 to co-ordinate government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCCC makes recommendations to cabinet on measures necessary to manage the pandemic.

“As a cabinet committee — which, like all other cabinet committees, was established to support the work of cabinet in whichever form the executive deems most practical or useful — the existence of the NCCC is not dependent on a national state of disaster being in operation.”

Several citizen groups, lawyers and opposition parties have challenged the constitutionality of the decisions taken by the council over the past two years, claiming it is illegitimate and calling for its powers to be curtailed.

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