- Chief Justice Mogoeng wants people to challenge lockdown laws in court
- He maintains the lockdown regulations do not overrule the Constitution
- He urged citizens to approach the court if they feel that their rights have been violated
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Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has said that the lockdown regulations imposed by the state do not trump the constitution.
He spoke to News24 this week and he urged South Africans who have been arrested or fined to legally challenge the government's decisions in court.
“Even a constitutionalist function[ing] state of emergency is subject to constitutional review. The courts have a final say on the validity or otherwise on measures taken in a state of emergency. Our constitutional rights are crucial and there can never be a situation [where] any of us are not subject to constitutional review,” he said.
Briefly.co.za learned that Mogoeng did not agree with shutting down the courts during the lockdown as people should be afforded the opportunity to challenge any perceived violation of their rights under lockdown.
“I encourage every citizen who believes his or her rights have been infringed to, without hesitation, approach our courts, so the courts – that are constitutionally ordained to look into the constitutionality of acts or conduct of anyone – can review the matter and decide whether or not citizens have been wronged or citizens have been acting under an incorrect understanding of what the position is,” he said.
He said that he was worried about the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country and the effect of the lockdown on the economy.
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If courts had been improved and modernised then virtual court cases could have been held instead of defendants having to appear in person according to The Citizen.
“The first challenge, speaking for the judiciary, is that we haven’t been able to finalise cases as expeditiously as we would want to, as expeditiously as the public is entitled to have us do. The effect of Covid-19 has been to make the situation worse for the judiciary and for the broader public,” Mogoeng said.
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa will finally be addressing South Africa on Sunday evening at 19h00.
This comes after a week of citizens voicing their discontent over restrictions that seem questionable to many.
In a statement issued by the Presidency on Saturday evening, it was revealed that Ramaphosa has sought out advice regarding his next move from every possible sphere of life:
"As part of exploring possible prospects and assessing the continuing health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, President Ramaphosa has also held consultative meetings with the business, labour and community constituencies of the National Economic Development and Labour Council; leaders of political parties represented in Parliament; traditional leaders; leadership of interfaith communities; the South African Council of Churches, and the tourism industry, which is the single largest source of employment in the private sector."
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