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DA calls for establishment of committee to protect civil liberties

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen asked Parliamentary Speaker Thandi Modise to ensure continuous oversight of the national executive and organs of state during the state of disaster.

FILE: DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants Parliamentary Speaker Thandi Modise to establish a committee to keep an eye on government during the 21 days national lockdown.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen asked Modise to ensure continuous oversight of the national executive and organs of state during the state of disaster.

Parliament is currently on recess in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steenhuisen said the continued oversight of the executive and the state was to ensure the civil liberties of South Africans are protected.

He also reacted to reports of law enforcement officers' poor interpretation of the lockdown guidelines and claims of abuse.

“There have been numerous worrying reports these past three days of brutality at the hands of the SANDF and police, including instances of shots being fired at civilians and even a report of a man being shot and killed in Vosloorus. These actions are unacceptable in our democracy. We cannot allow such heavy-handed authority to go unchecked, and the establishment of accountability measures are key,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

Steenhuisen also proposed that this committee should meet via online platforms or videoconferencing to respect the lockdown.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus in South Africa, click on this live status report from the Department of Health.