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EFF wants lockdown regulations relaxed for political gatherings

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The EFF says that the lockdown regulations currently in place are unjustifiable and violate the constitutional right to participate in the activities of a political party

File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

THE EFF, through its lawyers, Ian Levitt Attorneys and Conveyancers, has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting that lockdown regulations be amended to allow for political gatherings.

The EFF says that the lockdown regulations currently in place are unjustifiable and violate the constitutional right to participate in the activities of a political party, and to campaign for a political-party cause.

“The lockdown regulations as they currently stand, constitute an unjustified limitation to the sections 17 and 19 political rights guaranteed by the Constitution”.

“As you know, the political space including physically attending at political gatherings, municipal council sittings, offices of the legislature, as well as Parliament and National Assembly are currently prohibited in terms of the adjusted Level 3 regulations.

“It is illogical and irrational to open restaurants and beaches but criminalise people when they gather to challenge the government and protest.

“To continue to ban these gatherings is arbitrary and irrational when one scrutinises the balance of the lockdown regulations which allow for gatherings in restaurants, large workspaces, faith-based institutions, museums, beaches etc.

“The prohibition of ‘political gatherings’ is illogical and irrational, specifically when one can gather at a public beach or swimming pool but are criminalised when they gather to challenge the government, to protest, or assemble peacefully.”

Quoting from the Constitution, the EFF reminded the president that “everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”.

Although the party requests that political gatherings be allowed, it explained that “health protocols and social distancing measures, including wearing of masks and keeping a safe distance from other attendees”, will be adhered to.

The EFF said it was waiting for an urgent response by no later than the close of business on February 26.