Faizel Patel
2 minute read
5 May 2022
6:55 am

AfriForum takes legal action after government pushes through last minute Covid-19 rules

Faizel Patel

The proposed regulations were published in March and the public was only given a month to comment

Image: iStock

Lobby group AfriForum said it will be taking legal action against the government after the Health Department extended the deadline for public comment on draft regulations for Covid-19 rules by three months.

The Health Department pushed through the draft regulations late on Wednesday night.

The rules are meant to help government manage the pandemic going forward now that the national state of disaster has come to an end.

The proposed regulations were published in March and the public was only given a month to comment.

According to the department, this extension is in line with statutory requirements and will afford the department sufficient time to go through and consider all comments and representations on the regulations.

AfriForum’s campaigns manager Jacques Broodryk told 702 they are concerned with all draft regulations the Health Department has pushed through at the last minute.

“Some of the regulations were more outlandish than others, like forced medical treatment. This is part of the history we’ve been through. We are worried about the way government has dealt with the public participation process, wanting to continuously force regulations while the rest of the world is dropping mask mandates and deregulating. It just doesn’t make sense to us,” said Broodryk.

Broodryk said AfriForum has legal papers ready to be filed against government.

“AfriForum, together with the public participation platform DearSA, will launch court action against government’s proposed regulations. AfriForum’s court documents have already been finalised for legal action and our legal team are standing by to fight these amendments immediately.”

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AfriForum argues that the draft regulations are outside the intended scope of the legislation.

“It was never the legislature’s intention for these Acts to have such far-reaching effects and consequences. Some of these proposed regulations, such as forced quarantine, have previously been nullified by the court.”

DearSA says it is also concerned about government’s handling of the public participation process regarding commentary on the newly proposed amendments to the Health Act.

“The number of comments submitted, as quoted by health officials, is far less than the number of comments DearSA received and submitted on behalf of public participants. More than 95% of the 283,000 comments we received rejected these regulations in its entirety. A detailed report of all these individual comments will be made available to the public shortly,” Gideon Joubert, CEO of DearSA, said.