Liberty Fighters Network’s (LFN) application to have the national state of disaster and the compulsory wearing of masks declared unconstitutional and invalid has been dismissed.
The matter was heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday, 19 February 2021, with Justice Norman Davis delivering the judgment.
The organisation’s application to have Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma found guilty of contempt of court for extending the national state of disaster and re-implementing level 3 lockdown restrictions has been also “enrolled on the normal roll for finalisation”.
LFN president Reyno de Beer had previously argued that Dlamini-Zuma should be held in contempt for violating a court order which was handed down by the judge on 2 June 2020.
De Beer said Davis ruled that LFN failed to provide Dlamini-Zuma with sufficient time to oppose the contempt application although the minister did showed signs of “contemptuous conduct”.
“Justice Davis, however, confirmed that the Minister failed to have lodged her appeal in time and that the suspension brought about by the original suspension also lapsed in respect of those parts.
“These included the declaration of unconstitutionality and invalidity against the closure of beaches, limited attendance at funerals and the criminal prosecution of various lockdown regulations.
“Unfortunately, that means that the public will have to wait a tiny bit longer for the final contempt of court verdict. The matter will now be enrolled on the normal roll for finalisation,” De Beer said in a statement.
He said the judge noted that the closure of beaches and places of worship was unconstitutional despite not granting a formal order as “it was irrelevant to make a formal ruling”.
This was due to the fact that the restrictions were lifted earlier this month.
The judge also found no basis to declare compulsory wearing of masks unconstitutional, stating that “wearing a mask is not about one’s personal choice or one’s own appetite for risk, it is about protecting others.”
Meanwhile, De Beer added that the organisation would request leave to appeal on the matter.
“Surely, we will request leave to appeal in that respect or simply proceed with our arguments before the current Supreme Court of Appeal matter,” he concluded.
Last year, Davis previously ruled in favour of De Beer and the LFN, finding some lockdown regulations were irrational and unconstitutional.