Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has gone almost one year with no challenges to her lockdown authority, may soon have to relinquish one of her most important duties – as the process of extending the State of Disaster laws could be diverted to Parliament instead of her office. That’s if a newly-submitted bill gains approval, anyway…
How might Dlamini-Zuma have her powers limited?
This move has been on the cards for some time, and the DA has previously cried foul over NDZ’s role – which allows her to extend the State of Disaster restrictions without any impediments. That is now under threat – thanks to some serious support from FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald.
The right-leaning politician – supported by 11 other party MPs in Parliament – has sponsored a private members bill, which was on Wednesday adopted by the COGTA portfolio committee. According to HeraldLive, the committee will now take charge of the bill – and send it out for public participation.
Cilliers Brink has been fighting for this amendment since last year. The Shadow COGTA Minister is unhappy that his opposite number remains unopposed in establishing certain regulations at each alert phase. Dlamini-Zuma has been previously chastised for announcing cigarette bans and changing the official definition of a beach.
NDZ’s lockdown authority facing a ‘serious challenge’
The ultimate goal for those sponsoring the bill is to ensure that any extension of the lockdown – done on a monthly basis – is subjected to proper, Parliamentary scrutiny. South Africa remains under restrictions, and even at Level 1, facets of our pre-virus lives remain blocked off. Groenewald, therefore, believes Dlamini-Zuma should not be the sole decider.
“The Disaster Management Act does not provide adequate legislative accountability and oversight over the regulations published in terms of it, the duration of the State of Disaster nor in respect of the extension of a State of Disaster.”
“The bill provides that only the National Assembly, the provincial legislature or a municipal council may resolve to extend a declaration of a national, provincial or local state of disaster, respectively, and for how long.” | Pieter Groenewald