- President Cyril Ramaphosa says that not even he can prevent a citizen from challenging the government in court
- While the politician admits it is preferable for the government not to be facing legal action during the Covid-19 crisis, Ramaphosa acknowledges the right to do so
- Ramaphosa welcomed those challenging the government over the lockdown, saying it aids the response in democratic SA
President Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded South Africa's democracy as one of the nation's greatest assets.
In his weekly letter to the nation, Ramaphosa acknowledged that citizens were not strangers to tackling the government over pressing issues:
"We enjoy nothing more than robust engagement with our government and among ourselves on the burning issues of the day. We have an active civil society ever ready to safeguard our fundamental freedoms and rights."
Briefly.co.za reported that Ramaphosa had told journalists he had anticipated legal action over the current Covid-19 lockdown.
"While we would prefer to avoid the need for any legal action against government, we should accept that citizens who are unhappy with whatever action that government has decided on implementing have a right to approach our courts for any form of relief they seek. This is a normal tenet of constitutional democracy and a perfectly acceptable practice in a country founded on the rule of law."
Acknowledging the immense burden the pandemic has taken on South Africa, Ramaphosa commented that:
"Just as government appreciates that most court applicants are motivated by the common good, so too should we recognise that the decisions taken by government are made in good faith and are meant to advance, and not to harm, the interests of South Africans. Our foremost priority remains to save lives. Our every decision is informed by the need to advance the rights to life and dignity as set out in our Constitution."
In fact, Ramaphosa welcomed those helping evolve the response to the crisis through legal action:
"We will continue to welcome different – even dissenting – viewpoints around our national coronavirus response. All viewpoints aid us and help us to work better and smarter. The exercise of the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and speech is a barometer of the good health of our democracy. But much more than that, these rights are essential to the success of our national and collective struggle to overcome the coronavirus."
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