In our unrelenting fight to protect our democracy and help every single South African who needs emergency coronavirus relief get the help that’s available from government, we have been hard at work approaching the courts and the potential source of much of the relief funding, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This is the progress we have made so far:
- Because we strongly oppose the decision by President Ramaphosa to close the nation’s public schools for four weeks, we are approaching the courts, on the basis that it is politically rather than scientifically motivated and not in the best interests of South Africa’s 14 million schoolchildren.
- Our papers have been lodged and a full case has been argued before the High Court to challenge the discriminatory use of the coronavirus emergency relief fund. It isn’t right for government to exclude citizens from this relief based on their, or their employer’s race and other arbitrary criteria!
- We have petitioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make any funds obtained from them by the South African government conditional on non-racial use, or any other arbitrary criteria.
- The day after we filed papers challenging the ban on e-commerce, the pressure saw government reverse their irrational ban, announcing that all products could be sold online. And our legal challenges to the night curfew and the restriction on exercise hours helped see these irrational restrictions lifted in Lockdown Level 3. We will pursue them again in the event that South Africa goes back to Level 4 and these irrational restrictions resurface.
- We are challenging the constitutionality of the aspect of the Disaster Management Act that allows the National Command Council to make decisions as they please, without any checks and balances!
- After launching a court case against government’s ban on NGOs distributing food to desperate and hungry people cut off from providing for themselves during lockdown we won a reprieve! These NGOs can continue to feed the hungry until our case against the feeding scheme ban is heard later this month.
- We also successfully squashed Minister Zulu’s latest food distribution restrictions that would have blocked food relief as organisations became mired in bureaucratic processes. The Minister capitulated and agreed to pay our costs.
- After our legal team filed urgent papers in the Western Cape High Court to have the ban and criminalisation of “personal care” services, which includes hairdressers, declared invalid and unconstitutional, the looming court action jolted government into publishing regulations that enable this sector to open.
- After filing an urgent court application to interdict Mboweni’s South African Airways (SAA) bailout using “emergency” powers, we welcomed Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s, categorical commitment, under oath, not to do another SAA bailout in secret and a commitment that there is no “imminent” plan to do so. We have thus removed our application from the urgent court roll but retained our application on the normal court roll, should the need arise in future to prevent the Minister from using Section 16 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) for the same purpose.
Right now, these legal challenges of ours are what stand in the way of a slide towards a one-party fiefdom, where laws and regulations are simply issued by decree.
It is in every single South African’s interest that we succeed.
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