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Government prepares to scrap Covid-19 health regulations after continuous pressure by AfriForum

Due to continued pressure and impending legal action by the civil rights organisation AfriForum and other organisations, the government is reportedly repealing the Covid-19 health regulations. This would come as a victory against the regulations relating to the wearing of masks, restrictions on public gatherings and travel into South Africa, which AfriForum argues are illegal and irrational.

After ending the state of disaster, the government extended the Covid-19 measures for a further 30 days. However, when these 30 days had elapsed the government published new temporary regulations at the eleventh hour. AfriForum was the first organisation to file its legal application against the regulations. If the regulations are not scrapped, AfriForum’s court case will be heard on 26 and 27 July 2022.  

“The repealing of the regulations would show the strength of civil society organisations such as AfriForum in counteracting the government’s abuses of power. We are convinced that the government would not repeal these irrational and illegal regulations if not for the threat of AfriForum’s legal action,” says Reiner Duvenage, Campaign Officer for strategy and content at AfriForum.

Besides the fact that the current measures seem to be in the process of being repealed, the government published further far-reaching draft amendments to the National Health Act 61 of 2003 and the International Health Regulations Act 28 of 1974 for which the commentary period has been extended until 5 August 2022. AfriForum has been at the forefront in opposing the government’s far-reaching regulations that would permanently enshrine supposedly temporary Covid-19 measures in law. Along with public participation platform DearSA, the organisation gathered and submitted around 310 000 comments to the government in opposition to these draft amendments.

“Our focus now shifts to fighting against the draft health regulations. We urge members of the public to support us by submitting their comments to the government in opposition to the regulations on our website. This is a major hurdle that we need to overcome together in order to restore liberties to the people of this country. If the government goes ahead with these regulations despite the public outcry, we will have no other option than to take legal action once more,” concludes Reiner Duvenage.

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