Liberty Fighters Network wants lockdown ruling declared operational until finalisation of any appeal

Liberty Fighters Network's Reyno de Beer.
Liberty Fighters Network's Reyno de Beer.
  • Liberty Fighters Network has approached the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on an urgent basis, asking it to declare the 2 June ruling operational, pending any appeal. 
  • The court ruled that all lockdown regulations were unconstitutional and invalid.
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is appealing the matter. 

Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) says it wants a ruling that was delivered on 2 June about the constitutionality and validity of the lockdown regulations to be declared operational and effective, pending the finalisation of any appeal on the matter.

The group filed an urgent court application in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this week.

Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis declared lockdown Levels 4 and 3 unconstitutional and invalid.

Davis said little or no regard was given to the extent of the impact of individual regulations on the constitutional rights of people and whether the extent of the limitation of their rights was justifiable or not.

"The starting point was not 'how can we as government limit constitutional rights in the least possible fashion whilst still protecting the inhabitants of SA?', but rather 'we will seek to achieve our goal by whatever means, irrespective of the costs and we will determine, albeit incrementally, which constitutional rights you as the people of South Africa may exercise'," he said in his judgment.

READ | Govt says tweet about alcohol, tobacco ban was incorrect

However, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma sought leave to appeal the High Court ruling.

On 30 June, Davis allowed her to appeal the blanket declaration of invalidity he made when he set aside lockdown regulations, News24 reported.

In the court papers filed in the Supreme Court of Appeal, Dlamini-Zuma said LFN's founding affidavit contained "sweeping statements" on the disaster regulations' constitutionality.

"It did not identify the regulations at which it was aimed or specify the grounds on which they were attacked."As a consequence of the respondents' failure to plead the constitutional attack with any degree of specificity, I was deprived of the opportunity to meaningfully respond to it." According to the court papers, the first and most fundamental "error" by the High Court was that it found Level 3 regulations unconstitutional.


"The court makes this finding even though these regulations were not yet promulgated when the court heard the matter."  

However, in the urgent application lodged this week, LFN president Reyno De Beer accused the minister of "abusing court processes to appeal or otherwise to oppose all granted court orders to the great frustration and prejudice of the applicants and the public in general who had all been suffering under the unconstitutionality of the DMA [Disaster Management Act] regulations".

"Sadly the message the respondent is sending out to the reasonable person is that this court has no power over a government which has violated the basic human rights of all our people since the beginning of the so-called lockdown and is easily getting away doing so without ramifications," De Beer said.

READ | Dlamini-Zuma on lockdown: Right or wrong, regulation challenge needs to be heard in higher court

De Beer said Dlamini-Zuma had extended the national state of disaster on two instances, adding it seemed to him that the lockdown measures could continue indefinitely.

"The applicants believe now more than ever that the respondent, has, respectfully no idea what she is doing and that her 'measures' taken to combat and prevent the 'spread of infection' - which term, in actual fact describes a rate of detection rather than infection of a virus which may have been around for a long time but may have been detected only recently - are simply irrational."

De Beer is also of the view that Dlamini-Zuma was not appealing the order to benefit South Africans but has done so to implement stalling tactics.

He also said children and the elderly were being "abused" through the regulations.

De Beer said it was unhealthy for children to wear masks, and also to be prevented from interacting with their friends.

"In respect of the elderly - restricting their liberty and preventing them visits from their loved ones for almost four months, can no longer be endured, but once the elderly person passes away, 50 people may attend the funeral. This simply cannot be rational."

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