South Africa: Executive Decision-Making and the Covid Lockdown Loop As the Constitution Turns 25


It's Lockdown Day 401 on Workers' Day. The State of Disaster has been extended monthly for the umpteenth time. In many ways the exception is now normalised.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

That's not to say things can't change, particularly when it comes to what seems to be virtual-platform fatigue. The last Cabinet meeting in late April actually had ministers in person in the same room, physically distanced and masked. It was an Instagrammable moment for some, like social development portfolio boss Lindiwe Zulu, as Government Communication and Information System snapped the photos.

Cabinet meetings have been getting more attention lately. The regular cycle of meeting every other Wednesday, followed by a public briefing or statement, has been cranked up.

Then, sight seemed lost that Cabinet is South Africa's executive decision-maker amid pandemic war talk, the creation of a coronavirus command council and securocrats' push into constitutional democratic decision-making through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints), a collection of spooks, soldiers and cops that's not established in law or regulation and does not account to Parliament, or anywhere else.

It's important to repeat. According to the Constitution, SA's executive decision-maker is Cabinet. That's the...

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