Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu, after a Cabinet meeting, has come out saying that government’s decision-making regarding the lockdown regulations was “spot on” and “cannot be queried”. This comes after the North Gauteng High Court ruled that lockdown regulations, promulgated by Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, were unconstitutional and invalid on Tuesday 2 June. 

Mthembu said Dlamini-Zuma, joined by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and President Cyril Ramaphosa will appeal the high court’s ruling, as they feel it was unjustified. Mthembu made the announcement while briefing the media on Thursday 4 June. 

MTHEMBU: ‘WE WILL APPEAL’ 

Reading a statement, Mthembu said Cabinet gathered to discuss developments in South Africa’s efforts to save lives, which naturally included the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling.

Mthembu said Cabinet received legal advice in reaction to the judgement and decided to appeal because another court, other than the North Gauteng High Court, may come to a different conclusion. In other words, another court could find that lockdown regulations 100% constitutional.

“We have decided to appeal the decision on an urgent basis so that we can all attain certainty,” said Mthembu. 

LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS ‘SPOT ON’

Mthembu said Cabinet’s main priority while producing the lockdown regulations, was to save lives amid a raging pandemic.  

“Cabinet wishes to ensure the nation that all interventions introduced since March have been directed primarily at saving lives,” said Mthembu. 

“Our decision-making methodology was very open and we did not do anything that will justify what the court arrived at,” he said. 

Mthembu said the articulation of lockdown levels were crafted to save lives. He further stated that South Africa has been commended all over the world for it’s approach to battling the pandemic.

“Many commentators including the World Health Organisation (WHO) have said that SA has done very well,” he said. 

Mthembu said the steps the government and Dlamini-Zuma took — the lockdown regulations — allowed the country to slow down the infection and allowed hospitals preparation time. 

“Our decision making was spot on. We acted early, to slow down the virus, to slow down the infections. We are proud of our decision, we were able to save many many lives. Our decision cannot be queried from where we’re sitting, our decision making managed to save many lives,” said Mthembu. 

NATIONAL STATE OF DISASTER EXTENDED 

Apart from the rollercoaster we’ve been on regarding lockdown regulations this week, Mthembu also announced that the National Disaster, meant to be in place for no longer than three months, would be extended for one more month. He said the three month period ends in mid-June so an extension from 15 June to 15 July will be undertaken. 

Concerned about the rapid spread of COVID-19  in the Western Cape, Ramaphosa together with a full squad, will visit the province and meet up with Premier Alan Winde on Friday 5 June. 

Ramaphosa will be joined by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and Defence Minister  Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. 

The group is expected to assess the province’s interventions in combating the further spread of the virus. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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