SA holds its breath ahead of Ramaphosa’s speech on lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Original photo: EPA/Nic Bothma)
By News24
24 May 2020 0

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation on Sunday evening on developments in South Africa's risk-adjusted Covid-19 strategy, including easing down to a Level 3 lockdown, expected at the end of May.

In a statement on Saturday, the Presidency said the address follows meetings with Cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council.

These meetings considered the prospects of a progression from alert Level 4 to alert Level 3 of the national Covid-19 lockdown.

According to the Presidency, as part of exploring this prospect and assessing the continuing health, social and economic impact of the pandemic, Ramaphosa has also held consultative meetings with a number of different sectors in society. This included business, labour, leaders of political parties represented in Parliament, traditional leaders, the South African Council of Churches and the tourism industry.

The president’s address comes amid escalating frustrations over the lockdown and the current regulations.

Both the Freedom Front (FF) Plus and the DA are heading to court to challenge the lockdown in its current format and some of its regulations.

News24 reported that the FF Plus intends challenging the validity of the National Disaster Management Act and to request a finding that the government is abusing the Act, which would mean the declared state of disaster and its associated regulations were unconstitutional.

The DA has already filed papers that challenge the validity of some aspects of the national lockdown, including the military-enforced night curfew, the ban on e-commerce and the restriction on exercise hours, News24 previously reported.

The party will also be challenging the constitutionality of having no Parliamentary oversight inscribed in the Disaster Management Act.

On Thursday, the Helen Suzman Foundation launched a Constitutional Court challenge in a bid to force Parliament to reclaim its constitutionally-assigned role to pass legislation which regulates the state’s response to Covid-19, following Ramaphosa’s declaration of the state of disaster.

Civil society also approached the courts on the legality of the lockdown.

News24 previously reported that the Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) and its president Reyno de Beer are set to bring an urgent challenge in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

LFN, which identifies itself as a renegade social justice organisation, is challenging the legitimacy of all the lockdown regulations promulgated by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma since March.

Tune in for News24’s live broadcast of Ramaphosa’s address at 19:00. News24/DM