Health Department extends public comment on health regulations by seven days

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that the regulations were essential in preparing the country from any future outbreak and managing the current pandemic when the state of disaster lifted.

FILE: Health Minister Joe Phaahla at a briefing on 30 September 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that his department extended the deadline for public comment on new health regulations by seven days to 23 April.

He said the department had "no desire" to control people's lives by publishing the regulations.

Phaahla said that the health regulations were essential in preparing the country for any future outbreak and managing the current pandemic when the state of disaster lifted.

He was briefing Parliament's health committee on the regulations that are out for public comment.

The health regulations have come under some heavy criticism for trying to control South Africans beyond the national state of disaster.

Some MPs called the new regulations "draconian" and will require South Africans to be quarantined should they get infected with a list of "Notifiable Medical Conditions", including COVID-19.

But Minister Phaahla said that the regulations were not to control people and they were not a replacement for the state of disaster.

"We just want to assure the honourable members and the public that there is no desire for myself, as the minister, and my team from Health, to want to continue to control people's lives unnecessarily," he said.

Phaahla said that the regulations were not new and had been in existence for some time.

"It's basically an amendment on regulations which actually have been in existence for the last five years, from 2017," the minister said.