Lockdown: Impossible to consult with every religious leader over gatherings ban, court hears

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
People attend a holy evening mass  at Frauenkirche Cathedral of Our Lady cathedral in Germany, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
People attend a holy evening mass at Frauenkirche Cathedral of Our Lady cathedral in Germany, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
  • The Gauteng High Court is hearing a challenge to the regulations that placed a ban on faith-based gatherings.
  • The question of consultation arose where the respondent argued that it would be impossible for the minister to consult all religious leaders or organisations.
  • The regulations are no longer in place.

The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has heard during the challenge of the previous ban on faith-based gatherings that it would have been impossible for every single religious leader or organisation to be consulted.

Arguing on behalf of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is the respondent in the matter, advocate Rusty Mogagabe SC said despite their best efforts, it would have been impossible for all religious leaders to be consulted.

READ | SA delays Covid-19 vaccine deliveries because it has too much stock

"In regards to the urgency of the situation and the danger presented by the pandemic, it would be putting an onerous burden, if not an unreasonable one on the minister to consult with each and every religious organisation similarly to consult with each and every political party or traditional council in the country," said Mogagabe.

The court was currently hearing a virtual special motion application challenging the December 2020 and January 2021 lockdown regulations, which, among other things, placed a ban on faith-based gatherings.

Papers

This comes after one of the many applicants, the South African National Christian Forum (SANCF), had filed urgent papers in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to challenge the lockdown regulations that resulted in churches being closed.

The case, however, was removed from the urgent court roll in February following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of the lifting of the ban, with places of worship permitted to resume their services with a maximum amount of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, News24 reported.

Those regulations are no longer in place.

However, parties had argued that the court action was still justifiable.

READ | Lockdown: 'These regulations are no longer in place', govt responds to court action on religious gatherings

Dealing with the issue of consultation, Mogagabe submitted that consultation was carried out as Dlamini-Zuma accompanied Ramaphosa and presented the proposed January regulations at a meeting at which the president consulted with religious leaders on the necessary steps to combat the virus.

He further argued that "a case is made out as if the faith-based organisations are being targeted at the expense of other entities or activities", but other people were are also affected by the prohibitions.

"If it is so, then the process of consultation would be done at the expense of saving lives and livelihoods, the government has to act speedily, swiftly and urgently in responding to the virus," Mogagabe argued.

The matter continues.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
71% - 9359 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
29% - 3753 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.14
-1.3%
Rand - Pound
21.36
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.26
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.30
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.4%
Gold
1,783.48
0.0%
Silver
22.55
0.0%
Palladium
1,816.00
0.0%
Platinum
936.31
0.0%
Brent Crude
69.88
+0.3%
Top 40
64,307
-0.4%
All Share
70,808
-0.3%
Resource 10
66,503
-1.6%
Industrial 25
93,791
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,982
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE