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Government lockdown powers must be curbed

The power of government to impose and prolong states of national disaster and lockdown has to be curtailed in 2021. This is why the Democratic Alliance is challenging the Disaster Management Act in court.

In a Human Rights Watch report released and published in Business Day, the government’s mistreatment of vulnerable groups, the prolonged closures of schools and the interruption to the National School Nutrition Programme during the lockdown was highlighted.

To the list of lockdown-related human rights abuses the DA has added the use of excessive force, including the killing of Collins Khoza, and irrational restrictions on business and work that made it difficult for people to put food on the table.

The closure of beaches has led to the decimation of the tourism industry in towns like Jeffreys Bay which had an eerily quiet December season.

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The DA is challenging the constitutionality of section 27 of the Disaster Management Act in court, but this issue should also be brought to the floor of Parliament.

Depending on the timelines and the outcome of the court case, the DA will this year prepare draft legislation to amend the Disaster Management Act to bring a future lockdown under parliamentary control.

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