Following the Pretoria High Court’s ruling declaring the Level 4 and Level 3 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid, South Africans have voiced their opinions.
The court suspended the declaration of invalidity for 14 days, meaning Level 3 regulations remain in operation for now.
Judge Norman Davis ruled in favour of Liberty Fighters Network, the Hola Bona Renaissance Foundation and attorney Reyno de Beer, after the group launched an urgent court challenge to the regulations.
The judge found that “little or in fact no regard was given to the extent of the impact of individual regulations on the constitutional rights of people and whether the extent of the limitation of their rights was justifiable or not”.
Davis said: “The starting point was not ‘How can we as government limit constitutional rights in the least possible fashion whilst still protecting the inhabitants of South Africa?’ but rather ‘We will seek to achieve our goal by whatever means, irrespective of the costs, and we will determine, albeit incrementally, which constitutional rights you as the people of South Africa, may exercise’.”
While some have commended the judgment, others say it was “disappointing”.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela said she would be “surprised” if the judgment, in its current form, survived the scrutiny of a higher court.
She tweeted: “There would have been a lot to learn from this judgment if it were more clear, concise, accurate, professionally reasoned and persuasive. I’d be surprised if in its current form it survives the scrutiny of a higher court.”
There would have been a lot to learn from this judgement if it were more clear, coscise, accurate, professionally reasoned and persuasive. I’d be surprised if in its current form it survives the scrutiny of a higher court https://t.co/JXlh2ahfst
— Prof Thuli Madonsela (@ThuliMadonsela3) June 2, 2020
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has labelled the judgment a “legal” joke.
“Not even a first-year law student could have written such an incoherent argument. The minister must appeal it,” he said.
This judgement is a legal JOKE! Not even a first year law student could have written such an incoherent an aurgument. The minister must appeal it! pic.twitter.com/cLg3t7BROX
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) June 2, 2020
This as former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa said the judgment appeared to be a “mess”.
“The judge doesn’t seem to have pointed out specific regulations to strike down but based on examples struck all down. Not all are irrational. I have my list. Whoever prepared the government papers (lawyers and DG) botched it too,” he said.
It would appear that the judgement is a mess. The judge doesn’t seem to have pointed out specific regulations to strike down but based on examples struck all down. Not all are irrational. I have my list. Whoever prepared the government papers (lawyers and DG) botched it too.
— Mbhazima Shilowa (@Enghumbhini) June 3, 2020
The judgement has confirmed what many ordinary folks said to the government but at a cost.
— Mbhazima Shilowa (@Enghumbhini) June 2, 2020
These were some of the reactions on social media:
It's a poorly written, terribly reasoned & all round odd judgment.
If the executive has no appetite to appeal, they'll just update & tighten the language in the regulations… & life goes on.
Upside for some lawyers: there's certainly work in a time of national disaster. ????
— Ottilia Anna MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) June 2, 2020
From a legal perspective, the judgment is disappointing. One would expect a bit more rigour from the High Court. Will try and write something on it tomorrow.
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) June 2, 2020
The N-Gauteng High Court reminds NDZ that SA needs to be governed in accordance with constitutional prescripts, not by whim or predilection. Had it not been for the judiciary’s guidance, our government would long ago have shipwrecked us for want of its own moral North Star.
— Pieter-Louis Myburgh (@PLMyburgh) June 2, 2020
The Pretoria High Court on Tuesday declared the regulations for COVID-19 invalid and unconstitutional.The decisions of his court for sometime now have been openly political, vindictive and malicious.This judgement is about outcomes, not process of law. Our government must appeal.
— Andile Lungisa (@mrlungisa) June 3, 2020
Level 3 and level 4 regulations are unconstitutional said the judge from Pretoria High Court, government is given 14 days to amend all errors were done regarding the lockdown rules . ???????? Seriously though? Who or what people should listen now?
— Andreas (@Andreas69109661) June 3, 2020
Government should appeal Pretoria High Court ruling. These NGOs won't be held responsible when hospitals can't cope with multitudes of infected people. #Level3Restrictions
— Bra Hloni (@HonourableHloni) June 2, 2020
NDZ must appeal the nonsensical Pretoria High Court judgement.
— Rhangani (@Rhangani_) June 2, 2020