Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has announced that South Africa’s National State of Disaster has been extended by one month to 15th July.
The Disaster Management Act 2002 allows for a National State of Disaster to remain in effect for a period of three months. Given that a National State of Disaster was declared on 15th March 2020, the three month period was fast approaching.
However, the Act also allows for the Minister, in this case Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to extend the National State of Disaster one month at a time before it lapses.
The Act seemingly doesn’t put a limitation on how many times a State of Disaster can be extended.
“As we all know the National State of Disaster can only last for three months or 90 days and the three months or 90 days of the current National State of Disaster expires on the 15th June. That’s why it was necessary for the Minister of COGTA to request cabinet to extend the National State of Disaster by another month,” Mthembu said during a press briefing on Thursday.
The minister also noted the judgement that was handed down by North Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis earlier this week.
“That judgement declared the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in level three and level four, unconstitutional and invalid. After obtaining legal advice and listening to numerous comments from members of the legal fraternity in reaction to this judgement, we are of the view that another court might come to a different conclusion,” said Mthembu.
Government is therefore filing an appeal on an urgent basis so that “all of us can obtain certainty on the regulations”. Government says that Dlamini-Zuma will be joined by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize in this appeal.
The minister went on to say that regulations introduced as part of the lockdown were done so with the express view of saving lives.
Current regulations – that is regulations for level three of lockdown – will remain in place during the appeal process.[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]