2nd court bid against state of disaster: DA challenges govt over extension

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, party leader John Steenhuisen said the party would no longer allow COVID-19 to be used carelessly.

FILE: Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be launching an urgent court application against government's decision to extend the National State of Disaster.

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, party leader John Steenhuisen said the party would no longer allow COVID-19 to be used carelessly.

“It is urgent, because we cannot be in a state of disaster for another day. But, it is not enough to end a state of disaster, the lockdown itself must end.”

He was delivering a virtual address on the extension of the pandemic and government's intention to legislate permanent restrictions.

Earlier this week, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced the extension to 15 April, saying government needed to continue adapting existing laws to try and control the spread of COVID-19.

Steenhuisen disagreed, saying the only state of national disaster that the country was in was a self-imposed one caused by the ongoing restrictions.

He added that government had now stopped listening to the science.

“Over the past two years, this government has constantly claimed to be led by the science. The science now tells us that the lockdown is unnecessary, irrational and unreasonable.”

The DA said focus should rather be put on regaining and transcending what had been lost.

On Wednesday, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa announced he was joining AfriForum’s court bid to end the state of disaster.

The lobby group started legal action in February to have the policy nullified, arguing that there was currently no disaster and therefore no justification for restricting the freedom of citizens under the guise of an emergency.