Unclear if ConCourt will consider DA's lockdown legislation challenge - expert

The party on Tuesday filed papers arguing Parliament should have a more defined role in the drafting of COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

FILE: The Constitutional Court. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

CAPE TOWN – It was unclear whether the Constitutional Court will consider the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) challenge of the Disaster Management Act.

The party on Tuesday filed papers arguing Parliament should have a more defined role in the drafting of COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

The DA said that in its present form, the act gave too much power to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The party argued that the Disaster Management Act did not support Parliament’s legislative authority as stipulated in Section 42 of the Constitution.

The party wanted Parliament to have oversight over the state of natural disaster and the lockdown rules being implemented.

Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos said it was unclear whether the Constitutional Court would actually consider the merits of the DA’s application.

“Because they’re applying for direct access, which is not normally given. It’s normal that first you must first go to the High Court. So, we don’t know whether the Constitutional Court will actually hear it,” He said.

However, De Vos added that the DA presented strong arguments.

“The fact that the legislation gives too much power to the minister to make regulations, it’s basically delegating what is legislated by something that Parliament should do to the minister. But, whether the court agrees with that, or basically to rewrite the Disaster Management Act to include Parliament in it, that’s quite the radical thing to do,” he said.

In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that all South Africans had the right to approach the courts for any form of relief.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.