South Africa: Some Lockdown Regulations May Be Invalid Because They Discriminate On the Basis of Race or Are Not Authorised By Law

South African Police shut down spaza shops in Govan Mbeki Township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
opinion

It is laudable that the government has taken drastic steps to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. However, this must be done in accordance of the law and by respecting all the rights protected in the Bill of Rights.

On Monday, South Africa's Constitutional Court declined to hear an application from a group styling itself the Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, in which the group sought to challenge the constitutionality of the state's recently gazetted shutdown regulations. The application was badly drafted, to say the least: It was as if one of the public protector's lawyers had prepared the papers while high on at least two caps of acid. Some of the regulations may be unlawful and invalid, either because the legislation may not authorise the restrictions or because they unfairly discriminate on the basis of race.

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Day five of the lockdown. Reports streaming in of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) (some of them in civilian dress and covering their faces with balaclavas) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), terrorising people by administering humiliating physical "punishments", and by assaulting and, in at least three cases, alleged murdering members of the public accused of not obeying...

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