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Health Minister’s proposal will allow Gov to impose lockdown restrictions, whenever they want

Dr Zweli Mkhize, Newcastillian
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Following the country moving down to Level 1 of the nationwide lockdown, South Africans welcomed the easing of regulations—as these extreme rules caused major backlashes on us and our economy, and therefore, are only to be used in times of extreme national threat. But is the government looking at the restrictions from a power-play angle? 

This follows Dr Zweli Mkhize, the health minister, publishing several new proposals to change the National Health Act’s regulations on notifiable diseases. If accepted, these proposals will extend the government’s powers to deal with COVID-19 and other health issues.

The proposals will not only allow the government to handle health-related issues as they see fit, but it will allow the minister of health to impose restrictions on South Africans. Even when the country is not facing a national disaster.

Dr Mkhize presented these regulations during a portfolio committee meeting on health on 13 October 2020. It was during the meeting, that Dr Zweli explained to the attendees that the regulations would provide them with the necessary ammunition to combat the pandemic and other crises.

However, it will also provide him with powers very similar to what was given to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, at the height of the Disaster Management Act.

The restrictions which Dr Mkhize would like to see implemented, include:

  • Complete or partial closing of any public place. This includes a place used for public receptions, tourist activities or events or public recreation, amusement or entertainment activities or events.
  • Prohibition of movements between districts and provinces of people.
  • Imposing further curfews for people to remain indoors.
  • Closing of educational institutions.

Looking at the prospect of the government imposing further restrictions on South Africans, the Democratic Alliance has voiced its concerns.

DA MP and spokesperson on health, Siviwe Gwarube says, “It gives an impression of a government desperate to retain power over its citizens even outside of a legitimate State of Disaster by giving powers to the Minister which will allow him and the Executive to impose far-reaching restrictions.”

Furthermore, she said the regulations give the Minister of Health, or more broadly, the Executive, unlimited powers to impose restrictions that will impede civil liberties.

Gwarube elaborates, “More importantly, these powers conferred to the Minister via the backdoor of the regulations make no provision for Parliamentary oversight and allow the Executive to impose restrictions without any checks and balances.”

While she explains that parliament is not legally required to vote and pass on regulations, she believes these specific regulations have far-reaching consequences.

Therefore, she stresses that it is paramount they must be brought to the full sitting of Parliament accompanied by a legal opinion sourced from Parliament’s legal services.

Gwarube adds, “These regulations must be debated and adopted by the House and cannot be snuck through the back door; in the middle of the night; 24 hours before the State of Disaster is meant to expire. This is why the Democratic Alliance (DA) will be writing to the presiding officers of Parliament to request that this be done as a matter of urgency.”

Over the past seven months, South Africans have found themselves frustrated with several of the regulations. Especially those which were nonsensical.

With this in mind, Gwarube says, “We cannot allow this state of affairs to be normalized as though we do not live in a Constitutional democracy.”

As the government considers implementing further restrictions in our lives, what are your thoughts? Do you feel the government is taking advantage of the pandemic? Or do you feel they are justified?

Share your thoughts and views with us in the comment section below.

Author: Quinton Boucher

Edited: Calvin Swemmer

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14 Responses

  1. This is totally ridiculous. ANC is trying desperately to hold on to power. We are humans, not animals to be controlled by the power hungry ANC. Have we as citizens of SA not suffered enough with constant abuse from our government? This is being taken to far now. Dlamini Zuma overplayed her role why should we be subjected to another person playing for power. I say no to this. If a petition is put out there for citizens to vote, the majority will agree and say no. If a person is irresponsible and don’t follow health protocols, then surely that individual will face the consequences of their actions. Why do we need another person telling us what to do and when to do it? Are we not living in a democratic country? Most are adhering to health protocols and those that don’t will face the music. We need no one trying to spoon feed us.

  2. I agree this must stop now we had enough of this, this mask is making you sick, take it away so we kan live again

  3. This is not acceptable, as government is playing power games to be in control of people’s lives. The people of this country needs to have a say in Democracy. After all the corruption we cannot trust this government anymore. Not even under life and death situations they did not control their hunger for corruption and money greed.

  4. This is power play tactics and will kill commerce and tourism I total. Where do they think tax will Come from if no one is working. These kind of laws are nonsensical and ridiculous. They are trying to play God and it will not go down well with citizens who are losing everything they have worked for all their lives. Only government personnel will flourish but when the tax stops coming in they too will lose their salaries

  5. This is an attempt by the power hungry ANC to choke our hardearned livelyhoods and our constitutional freedoms. They are using this state of daster as a tool for tyrany. I say no more. These people are very clever, forcing their communist agenda onto unwitting citizens. And this seems to be the norms in many countries now. Why are they still in power?

  6. I do not agree at all. They want too handle us as babies. We are not there that they can restricked us to what they want to do. They cant even run a country then they want to tell us what to do.

  7. It is utter nonsense our economy has failed badly and it is not going to work by closing everything again!!! People suffer 😪

  8. The Government knows that they are pushing for the New World Order and ushering in the New World Leader. Covid 19 is planned and Gobally all follow the same route. The restrictions are just another way of stripping people of their basic human rights.
    I don’t agree at all.

  9. This will be the final nail in the coffin of our economy as well as the education of our children…..

  10. Over my dead body . F. OFf and go and order your own families around.
    Carry on with your bullshit and see how the people are going to react

  11. This is a draconian governments dream come true but is a nightmare for the constitutionally based Republic.

    Once the precedent is set it’s the end of democracy as we know it and the beginning of an autocratic state.

    The virus has not yet been identified clearly even by the WHO so this is but a fraud that is a thinly disguised bid for power and the negation of the constitution.

    Citizens should object strenuously and remove the government if necessary.

    This cannot be allowed in any manner whatsoever.

    Stop Zweli Mkhize and save your country!!!

  12. This is just becoming insane. We cannot become completely state controlled when the state are the biggest criminals known to man. They have tasted power and do not want to give it up.
    Back to apartheid where all freedoms are removed. We cannot choose where we go or who with or when. Our income generation is being taken over as well. Is this how the future will look?
    We voted “yes” in 1989 for freedom for all people to decide what they want. ALL PEOPLE. This is too much like Animal Farm

    1. Agreed. Also refer to Greg Mccullum’s comment regarding the “New World Order”.
      “Novus Ordo Seclorum” – The god of money. The false prophet. Followers of the prince of darkness, and not the Creator of Light.

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