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DA wins 1st round in protracted court battle around legitimacy of Covid-19 command council

The DA has challenged the legitimacy of the national coronavirus command council.
The DA has challenged the legitimacy of the national coronavirus command council.
Image: Gallo Images

The DA has welcomed a Constitutional Court directive, handed down on Friday, saying it will consider arguments in its application for direct access to challenge the Covid-19 Disaster Management Act.

This means the highest court of the land has given the opposition party the green light to try to convince it to hear its plea.

The Constitutional Court could have denied the DA the opportunity to make its arguments by sending it to the high court first. But the Constitutional Court on Friday said it would hear the DA out first, before making a decision on whether the matter should be heard by the high court before it goes to the Constitutional Court.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are arguing that the DA should not be granted direct access to the Constitutional Court.

“They are effectively seeking to delay an answer to the central question of whether the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) is legitimate.

“If the DA is refused direct access, we will need to first challenge the DMA in the high court, which opens up scope for an appeal to the high court’s findings. This would mean it could take some months before the ConCourt is able to make a final decision on the matter,” said the DA.

The DA has until June 5 to motivate for direct access to the ConCourt, and Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma have until June 12 to argue why such access should not be granted.

“If the Disaster Management Act does not meet constitutional muster, it means the decisions taken by the NCCC under this act are not valid. This opens the way for more rationality and accountability in the management of this pandemic and of our economy going forwards.

“The NCCC decision-making to date has resulted in one of the world’s longest and most irrational hard lockdowns. This has destroyed millions of jobs and lives, thousands of businesses, and wasted billions in tax revenue, without managing to keep control over the spread of the virus,” said the party.

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