FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald has taken a swipe at the government, after they extended the State of Disaster Act for another month. Emergency regulations that dictate the terms of lockdown will now remain in place until at least mid-July, but concerns have been registered about how much power this gives ministers.
Groenewald is upset that Parliament wasn’t consulted about the measure. In our third month of fighting against coronavirus, the promised ‘collaborative effort’ between parties to help quell the disease has all but evaporated, following some major disagreements over cigarette usage and the length of our lockdown.
State of Disaster laws extended – but why the concerns over Dlamini-Zuma?
It’s being called ‘unconstitutional’ by the party, who hold 10 seats in the National Assembly. They fear that a failure to keep the opposition in the loop indicates the government is trying to seize ‘too much power’. The FF Plus is particularly concerned that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma can decide when to extend the State of Disaster, and how long for.
“The FF Plus condemns today’s decision by Cabinet to extend the national State of Disaster until the middle of July this year because Parliament did not have any input into the government’s unilateral decision. We find this unacceptable – it forms part of our court case that aims to have lockdown declared unconstitutional.”
“In terms of the National Disaster Management Act, a national disaster may be declared for a period of three months after which it can be extended on a month-to-month basis by the relevant Minister, in this case, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).”
“The government can do what they want” – FF Plus leader
Groenewald and his colleagues are adamant that there’s been ‘no Parliamentary oversight’ with the decision:
“However, in the case of a national state of emergency, the Constitution determines that the President has to ask Parliament for permission to extend the period after 21 days. At the moment and in terms of the national State of Disaster, the government can do what it wants without any parliamentary oversight.”