Stung by a High Court disapproval of its lockdown measures designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the South African government on Thursday said it would appeal the ruling in order “to obtain certainty on the regulations.”Briefing the media on the government’s intention to appeal, Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu said cabinet was of the view that another court hearing might come to a different conclusion on the matter.
“Cabinet has therefore decided to appeal the North Gauteng High Court decision and government will ask that the appeal be heard on an urgent basis so that all of us can obtain certainty on the regulations,” the minister said.
He noted that all the interventions introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa since the declaring of a national state of disaster in March “have been directed primarily at saving the lives of our people.”
The regulations, which placed restrictions on the movement of people and stopped some economic activities, were directed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 infections, he said.
“While government appeals the judgment, parent regulations remain in force and we appeal and urge our people to observe the health protocols that have been put in place, including washing of hands, social distancing, wearing masks in public, as well as screening and referral for testing where necessary,” Mthembu said.
Leading the appeal will be Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She will be joined by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize during the hearing, Mthembu said.
The high court had ruled that the lockdown restrictions encroached on and limited the “rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution” and are not justifiable in an open democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.