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Judgment reserved in bid to end lockdown regulations

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Reyno de Beer and his organisation, the Liberty Fighters Network, have asked the court that the current regulations under the Disaster Management Act be overturned

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JUDGMENT has been reserved in the application by Reyno de Beer and his group, the Liberty Fighters Network, to end the lockdown regulations and to hold Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in contempt of court.

De Beer, who argued his own case in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday, was sceptical about Covid-19 and said over the past 10 months the government did not share any information for justifying the national state of disaster and the regulations issued in this regard.

“Unfortunately, the state of disaster is continuing and it’s getting more bizarre by the day,” De Beer said.

“I am totally confused about what is happening. The regulations are chopped and changed almost once every month,’’ he told Judge Norman Davis.

Judge Davis is the same judge who in June ruled in favour of De Beer and his organisation when they first turned to court to have the then regulations overturned.

The judge at the time ruled that most of the then regulations were irrational.

The minister, however, applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein against that judgment.

Her application to the SCA was, however, only filed two days before Christmas and long overdue as she had to do so by October.

She will now first have to ask the appeal court to grant her condonation for her late filing before the appeal process can continue.

De Beer said, in his opinion, there is no pending appeal as the minister has not yet got the go-ahead from that court to proceed.

Thus, he argued, she is in contempt of court in light of the June judgment, as she is simply continuing to issue regulations under the Disaster Management Act.

While he asked in his court papers that the minister be locked up for six months if she was held in contempt of court and did not withdraw the latest regulations, he on Tuesday argued that he left the issue of a sanction in the court’s hands.

“We do not say throw her in jail, but the court must do something to make her comply with the previous court order.”

While questioning government’s declaration of a state of disaster based on the pandemic, De Beer said the minister should confirm how many people actually have Covid-19 in South Africa.

According to him, many have claimed to have it or had it, but only a qualified doctor can confirm whether it’s actually the virus and not pathologists who do the tests.

De Beer also opposed the compulsory wearing of masks and making it a criminal offence and said no one can be forced to do so.

The judge questioned what people who are exposed to the non-maskers must do.

De Beer said those who are scared of contracting the virus must then rather stay indoors.

Advocate Wim Trengove, for the minister, said she had to continue to implement measures to safeguard the country against the pandemic, especially against the second wave, and if the court ordered the setting aside of the regulations, it would leave the country in a regulatory void with disastrous consequences.

The wearing of masks and the prohibition of religious gatherings are all attempts to try to curb the surge.

Trengove said there are so many flaws in this application that it must fail.

Judgment was reserved.

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