AfriForum takes legal action after last-minute Covid rules passed

Pressure group AfriForum said it will take legal action against the government after the Department of Health extended the deadline for public comments on draft Covid-19 regulations by three months.

The Ministry of Health presented the draft regulation on Wednesday night.

The rules are meant to help the government deal with the pandemic now that the national state of disaster has come to an end.

The proposed regulation was published in March and the public only had one month to comment.

According to the department, this extension is consistent with statutory requirements and will give the department sufficient time to analyze and consider all comments and representations on the rulemaking.

AfriForum Campaigns Manager Jacques Broodryk told 702 that they are concerned about all the draft regulations that the Department of Health has pushed through in the last minute.

“Some of the regulations were more outlandish than others, like forced medical treatment. That’s part of the history we’re going through. We’re concerned about the way the government has handled the public participation process, wanting to continually force regulations while the rest of the world is to abandon mask mandates and deregulate. It just doesn’t make sense to us,” Broodryk said.

Broodryk said AfriForum has legal documents ready to be filed against the government.

“AfriForum, together with the public participation platform DearSA, will take legal action against the government’s proposed regulations. AfriForum’s legal documents for the legal action have already been finalized and our legal team is ready to fight these changes immediately.”

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AfriForum argues that the draft regulation is outside the intended scope of the legislation.

“It was never the legislator’s intention that these Laws have such wide-ranging effects and consequences. Some of these proposed regulations, such as the forced quarantine, were previously annulled by the court.”

DearSA says it is also concerned about the government’s handling of the public participation process regarding feedback on new proposed amendments to the Health Act.

“The number of comments submitted, cited by health officials, is far less than the number of comments DearSA received and submitted on behalf of public participants. More than 95% of the 283,000 comments we received rejected this rulemaking in its entirety. A detailed report of all these individual comments will be available to the public soon,” said Gideon Joubert, CEO of DearSA.

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