Covid-19 updates: Ramaphosa moves SA to Level 3, outrage over smokes

Covid-19 updates: Ramaphosa moves SA to Level 3, outrage over smokes

South Africa will officially be moving to Level 3 of the Covid-19 national lockdown on June 1. Briefly.co.za explores the latest updates on the continued battle against the virus.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially announced more details surrounding the move to Level 3 lockdown.

Briefly.co.za explores the top stories on the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa:

1. Ramaphosa: SA mostly moves to Level 3- Booze in, smokes remains banned

President Cyril Ramaphosa is apologetic over the stringent regulations imposed by the current Covid-19 lockdown.

However, the president says an 'extensive' public health response has been made possible by the sacrifices made by citizens ahead of an expected rise in infections.

Ramaphosa warned that models on the pandemic indicated that the situation will get much worse before it improves, with the severity of the crisis depending on the actions of all South Africans.

While South Africa shifts to Level 3 lockdown on June 1 hotspots will remain under more severe restrictions including Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekhuruleni, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and Cape Town.

2. Chief Justice Mogoeng: Lockdown regulations not above the Constitution

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.

3. Covid-19: Level 3 draft permits alcohol but cigarettes remain banned

Co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has prepared a draft version of the regulations for lockdown level 3.

The proposal plans for the opening of the whole economy from 1 June except hotels, restaurants, bars, gyms and places where people gather for recreational purposes. The National Command Council (NCC) debated the renewal of cigarette sales for 5 hours without coming to a final decision, however, alcohol will be available under the new level 3 draft.

The motivation behind the cigarette ban was that smokers would be more likely to need a ventilator should they contract Covid-19.

Briefly.co.za learned that the government had requested that the public comment on the new regulations before they are finalised.

Dlamini-Zuma's desire for the tobacco ban to continue appears to be garnering more support in the NCC according to an insider close to Dlamini-Zuma according to TimesLive.

"It's still work in progress because they are seriously considering issues being raised in the consultations. The view of the NCC was to reopen liquor outlets under strict conditions in level 3, but there's been opposition to that from political parties. "No decision was taken on tobacco, but there doesn't seem to be much appetite to lift that prohibition. The NCC, like society, is extremely polarised on these matters," said the insider.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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