- Opposition parties have accused the government of abusing its power
- A special Cabinet meeting held on Thursday extended the State of Disaster to 15 July and opposition parties were left out
- Freedom Front Plus said they are disappointed by state's decision to appeal Judge Norman Davis' ruling
On Thursday a special Cabinet meeting extended the State of Disaster to 15 July. This is the first of possibly many other one-month extensions to come.
The one-month extension to 15 July is permissible under the Disaster Management Act, which limits the initial declaration of a State of Disaster to a maximum of three months.
This extension comes just after a ruling declaring most lockdown regulations invalid and unconstitutional. At the meeting, the government also announced that they would be appealing the ruling made by Judge Norman Davis in favour of the Liberty Fighters Network.
The Freedom Front Plus issued a statement condemning the decision by the Cabinet to extend the State of Disaster until 15 July. FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald added that Parliament did not have any input into the government's unilateral decision.
"In terms of the National Disaster Management Act, a national disaster may be declared for a period of three months after which it can be extended on a month-to-month basis by the relevant Minister, in this case, Nokosazana [Nkosazana] Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA)."
The extension of the lockdown without consulting all stakeholders necessary has called into question the powers ministers have.
In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised that a collaborative effort between parties, businesses, labour and civil society would be the solution in dealing with Covid-19 problems.
However, that seems like a distant dream now as relationships between stakeholders have began to crumble. At the centre of the conflict has been the ban on tobacco.
The FF+ added in its statement that not keeping opposition parties in the loop shows that the government is trying to seize "too much power". The party added that it is disappointed by government's decision to appeal Judge Davis ruling.
In May, the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) reported that it was approaching the Constitutional Court to to compel parliament and the executive to exercise their "constitutional powers". HSF said:
"The HSF desires a restoration of power to Parliament and the executive, functioning as each is required by the constitution."
Dr Dlamini-Zuma has been singled out as one of the ministers who are abusing their powers as she consistently maintains her stance on the ban of tobacco.
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