Show us the minutes for all lockdown decisions, DA demands

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the continuation of a heavily restricted lockdown could no longer be justified. File photo
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the continuation of a heavily restricted lockdown could no longer be justified. File photo
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

The DA wants to know exactly how government has made its lockdown decisions, party leader John Steenhuisen said on Friday.

To this end, the official opposition said it had filed a Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.

Steenhuisen said: “It is crucial that we all know exactly why, according to government, we’re still in this destructive lockdown. Every decision is shrouded in secrecy. We are told to blindly trust a body called the national command council — a small group of cabinet ministers who don’t answer to parliament or anyone else.

“When asked for their meeting minutes to clarify why they backtracked on lifting the cigarette ban, this national command council refused, claiming this was classified information. I don’t buy that for a second, and neither should you.

“The DA has filed a PAIA application to obtain not only the minutes of their cigarette discussion, but of all their other decisions relating to the lockdown.”

The apparent U-turn on the sale of cigarettes under level 4 of the lockdown has become a political hot potato, with the government facing not just a backlash from citizens but also a legal challenge by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association.

There has also been criticism levelled against government's implementation of a night-time curfew, only allowing outdoor exercise between 6am and 9am daily, and the ban on the sale of alcohol.

Steenhuisen said the continuation of a heavily restricted lockdown could no longer be justified.

“Let me be very clear about this: there is no longer a justification to keep this hard lockdown in place. The government cannot produce this justification. They cannot show us the modelling they use to decide when to ease and when to tighten restrictions. They cannot do this because they don’t seem to know for sure themselves,” he said.

-TimesLIVE


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