Litigation: Time to end state of disaster, Solidarity tells court

Solidarity lodged papers in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) seeking to declare the continuation of the Covid-19 state of disaster to be declared invalid. TimesLIVE reports that the union, which says SA needs to return to a functioning democracy, filed its case against Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the National Coronavirus Command Council and Dr Mmaphaka Tau of the national disaster management center. Solidarity contends that the ongoing extension of the state of disaster is irrational and damaging for the economy and social and political norms.

‘By its own relaxation of regulations, the government has already announced that the disaster is a thing of the past. The Disaster Management Act is intended to create a drastic, yet short-term situation to allow the government to move quickly,’ Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said. Solidarity argues that lifting the state of disaster does not imply the virus has disappeared; rather that the events that justified an initial lockdown no longer exist. ‘It is not about whether we are done with the virus or that the virus has disappeared. If that has to be the criterion then we will forever be subject to a command council with few checks and balances to regulate it. The point is that Covid-19 has become manageable without such drastic measures. All indications point to the disease being endemic. The virus will be with us for a long time, but the disaster is over. To cling stubbornly to the state of disaster will be disastrous in itself,’ said Hermann. According to Solidarity, the Act does not provide for preventive action. It can only be used to manage a threatening active disaster.

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