President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally responded to calls for him to end the national state of disaster.
Giving his State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday evening, Ramaphosa said it is his intention to end the state of disaster.
“It is my intention to end the national state of disaster as soon as we have finalised other measures under the national health as well as other legislation to manage and contain the pandemic. This we have to do. All of you know by now all restrictions on economic and social activity have already been lifted. Vaccines have proven to be the best defence,” said Ramaphosa.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last month gazetted the extension of the national state of disaster to 15 February in terms of section 27(5)(c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002).
“The extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state and all other role players to mitigate against the impact of the disaster on lives and livelihoods,” said Dlamini-Zuma in a statement at the time.
Last week, AfriForum and Solidarity filed court documents in the North Gauteng High Court in a bid to have the national state of disaster declared invalid.
“There is currently no disaster and therefore there is no need for a state of disaster and there is no justification for the continued clampdown on citizens’ freedoms,” said AfriForum in a statement, arguing that current hospitalisation and death rates for Covid-19 are lower.
The country is currently on adjusted alert level 1, with the latest changes implemented on 31 January.
According to the adjusted alert level 1 regulations:
- Those who test positive with no symptoms do not have to isolate;
- If you test positive with symptoms, the isolation period has been reduced from 10 to 7 days;
- Contacts do not have to isolate unless they develop symptoms;
- Primary, secondary and special schools have also returned to daily attendance, with the regulatory provision for social distancing of 1 metre for pupils in schools no longer in place.