- The Democratic Alliance believes that the Disaster Management Act has given Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma too much power
- The opposition party argues that the act is at odds with the Consitution
- The lockdown regulations are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny
The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants the Disaster Management Act declared invalid, arguing that it gives one minister far too much power.
Through the Disaster Management Act, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma can decide on lockdown regulations which overrule parliament and the president according to the DA.
The DA argues that the act has created a state of emergency and the regulations Dlamini-Zuma can implement are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
Briefly.co.za learned that the DA said that the State of Emergency Act of 1997 and section 37 of the constitution gives parliament the ability to debate in the National Assembly and thereby is able to place the lockdown regulations under scrutiny.
The Disaster Management Act does not allow this and therefore is at odds with the Constitution.
The DA believes that the strict curfew regulations and the deployment of the army amount to a state of emergency and not a disaster as the ANC has labelled it according TimesLive.
DA interim leader, John Steenhuisen, filed an affidavit with the Constitutional Court on Friday and he argued that the act is unconstitutional.
"As I have explained, the Disaster Management Act insists on no form of parliamentary oversight at all. It allows for the creation of a de facto state of emergency without any compliance with the constitutional requirements for such a state of emergency. On this basis, too, section 27 is unconstitutional," Steenhuisen argues.
He said that if Parliament could debate lockdown regulations they would not be changed from day to day.
"Parliament has conferred extremely wide and far-reaching powers on the minister. Indeed, the sole reporting obligation in the act is the duty on the minister to - once a year - submit a report to parliament on the activities of the National Disaster Management Centre.
"This is self-evidently insufficient to allow the National Assembly to effectively scrutinise and oversee the executive action that has been taken under the act.
"Nor is it adequate that various ministers have engaged in briefing sessions with various parliamentary committees on their activities in relation to the state of national disaster. While such briefing sessions are to be welcomed, they have no teeth. Even if an entire committee were to disagree with the steps a minister had taken, that would have no legal effect unless the minister of his or her own accord decided to change tack."
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