President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said the eight-week coronavirus lockdown slapped on South Africa was designed to save lives by containing the deadly disease from spreading among the population.Responding to opposition threats to drag him and his government to court to end the nationwide shutdown, Ramaphosa said his government’s decisions on the lockdown were informed by “the need to advance the rights to life and dignity as set out in the constitution.”
“Some have succeeded in their legal challenges and some have not. Some have approached the courts on the basis of the urgency of their cases, and had their urgent arguments dismissed, and others have found other avenues for the relief they sought,” Ramaphosa said.
But throughout all this, Ramaphosa said, the government had checks and balances in place to ensure that every aspect of good governance was able to withstand constitutional scrutiny.
“Where we are found wanting, we will be held to account by our courts and, above all, by our citizens.”
Apart from the opposition parties, several non-governmental organisations, private citizens, business organisations, and religious bodies have also approached courts to challenge certain aspects of the stoppage.
South Africa has been on a lockdown since March 27, a development that has seen most industries, socioeconomic interactions and other activities coming to a screeching halt over the past eight weeks.