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Tag: Dlamini-Zuma

Dlamini-Zuma facing ‘serious challenge’ to her lockdown authority

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has gone almost one year with no challenges to her lockdown authority, may soon have to relinquish one of her most important duties – as the process of extending the State of Disaster laws could be diverted to Parliament instead of her office. That’s if a newly-submitted bill gains approval.

HOW MIGHT DLAMINI-ZUMA HAVE HER POWERS LIMITED?

This move has been on the cards for some time, and the DA has previously cried foul over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s role – which allows her to extend the State of Disaster restrictions without any impediments. That is now under threat – thanks to some serious support from FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.

The right-leaning politician – supported by 11 other party MPs in Parliament – has sponsored a private members bill, which was on Wednesday adopted by the COGTA portfolio committee. The committee will now take charge of the bill – and send it out for public participation.

Cilliers Brink has been fighting for this amendment since last year. The Shadow COGTA Minister is unhappy that his opposite number remains unopposed in establishing certain regulations at each alert phase. Dlamini-Zuma has been previously chastised for announcing cigarette bans and changing the official definition of a beach.

NDZ’S LOCKDOWN AUTHORITY FACING A ‘SERIOUS CHALLENGE’

The ultimate goal for those sponsoring the bill is to ensure that any extension of the lockdown – done on a monthly basis – is subjected to proper, Parliamentary scrutiny. South Africa remains under restrictions, and even at Level 1, facets of our pre-virus lives remain blocked off. Groenewald, therefore, believes Dlamini-Zuma should not be the sole decider.

“The Disaster Management Act does not provide adequate legislative accountability and oversight over the regulations published in terms of it, the duration of the State of Disaster nor in respect of the extension of a State of Disaster.”

“The bill provides that only the National Assembly, the provincial legislature or a municipal council may resolve to extend a declaration of a national, provincial or local state of disaster, respectively, and for how long.” | Pieter Groenewald

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Minister Dlamini-Zuma extends National State of Disaster to 15 May 2021

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Wednesday, 14 April 2021, gazetted the extension of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster until 15 May 2021.

“We must sustain our commitment to remain responsive, agile and compassionate as we work to save lives and protect the livelihoods of all South Africans”

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

CoGTA explained in a statement that the “extension is in terms of section 27(5)(c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002). It was postponed following consultations with Cabinet.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma explained that she had taken into account “the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to mitigate against the impact of the disaster on lives and livelihoods”.

STATE OF DISASTER LAWS EXTENDED IN MARCH

Prior to this, the State of Disaster laws were extended for 35 days in March, with Minister Dlamini-Zuma saying at the time the extension would stay in place until 15 April 2021.

The State of Disaster will likely be extended again on 15 May. Despite COVID-19 infection rates decreasing, the virus is still “in circulation” and the vaccine hold-up could only exacerbate the delay.

The first reported case of COVID-19 in Africa was recorded on 27 February 2020 in Nigeria, with the NICD confirming the first South African case on 4 March 2020.

FIRST STATE OF DISASTER IMPLEMENTED 15 MARCH 2020

Despite the country’s low caseload at the time (61 confirmed cases and zero deaths), President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a State of Disaster in effect from 15 March 2020.

At the time, Dlamini-Zuma said the implementation of the National State of Disaster was necessary to assist in protecting the public as well as provide relief, protect property, and prevent disruption.

Once the motion was approved, Cabinet urged South Africans to “build on the momentum of this encouraging news and continue to work together to consistently do the right things”.

South Africans were reminded to practise social distancing, continue to wear masks, and wash and sanitise hands regularly.

Is it time to quit smoking

News: Government must consult stakeholders before future tobacco bans.

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) has dropped its case against government over the tobacco sales ban.

In terms of the settlement reached this week, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had agreed to follow a public participation process before reinstating the ban, if at all in the future.

“Any invitation to or announcement of a consultation process will be issued publicly. Fita and any other interested parties would then be free to participate in that process,”

“Any future decision regarding the prohibition of the sale of tobacco and related products, if any, shall be taken in accordance with the law and the requirements of legality.”

The parties have agreed to pay their own costs  both in the high court.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

News: Dlamini-Zuma faces legal challenge over her lockdown powers.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is taking legal action against the government’s implementation of lockdown regulations, slamming the president and his chosen ministers for ‘an oversight of Parliament’, The South African reported.

The group is pursuing the courts, with a specific focus on removing the ‘ultimate authority’ enjoyed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

https://twitter.com/HelenSuzmanFdn/status/1288103389960822785?s=20

 

HSF issued a press release on Tuesday afternoon, revealing that they would give Cabinet until mid-August to respond. However, they plan to have this case heard in court within one month, scheduling Tuesday 25 August as their preferred date for a legal showdown.

According to the foundation, the past four months of lockdown saw legislation and restrictions approved solely by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) – in direct contradiction of the Constitution.

Parliament has had very little say on how Ramaphosa and his team must navigate this public health crisis.

Similar issues have been raised in previous legal battles related to the lockdown, but HSF is specifically asking for ‘a restoration of power’ to the National Assembly:

“The Disaster Management Act vests extraordinarily wide-ranging legislative and executive powers in the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma], to deal with issues arising out of disasters.”

“For four months, the government has permitted the Minister, alone or with the National Coronavirus Command Council, to legislate the state’s response to COVID-19. They appear content to allow their ultimate authority to be exercised by others, seemingly for as long as COVID-19 poses a threat.”

“We desire a restoration of power to Parliament and the Executive, functioning as each is required by the Constitution. No explicit attack is made on the policy choices or value judgments embodied in existing regulations. The application only seeks to restore the primacy of our Constitutional dispensation.” Helen Suzman Foundation

Ramaphosa has denied his regulations were hijacked by the minister, but much of the damage had been done right there and then. Dlamini-Zuma, who leads the NCCC, is also believed to be influencing Cabinet on issues such as alcohol and exercise restrictions. The government, meanwhile, has been given two weeks to file a responding affidavit to the Foundation’s case.

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