Non-pharmaceutical measures can be enforced without state of disaster – legal expert

Non-pharmaceutical measures can be enforced without state of disaster – legal expert

With the state of disaster set to expire at midnight on Tuesday, the country is likely to move into a new phase of managing the Covid-19 pandemic. 

face mask

Earlier in the year President Cyril Ramaphosa said the National Coronavirus Command Council is looking into the question of the state of disaster – and whether current legislation would be able to sufficiently manage the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday marked 719 days of lockdown since the Covid-19 arrived on South African shores.

The NCCC is expected to meet on Monday to discuss regulations around the Covid-19 state of disaster.

Legal expert Ulrich Roux says non-pharmaceutical measures can still be enforced, even without the state of disaster in effect.

ALSO READ: Police scour for clues after shooting leaves 5 dead in Khayelitsha

“Even if the national state of disaster is no longer in effect those laws can still stand. In other words, if the Disaster Management Act confirms that masks are mandatory as well as social distancing, that could very well be the case.”

Roux explains that if laws are to be introduced outside of the state of disaster, they could just be gazetted.

“It is only when a new act is drafted or promulgated that it does take quite a substantial period of time. If you remember correctly during the lockdown period and national state of disaster period, there were numerous instances where the laws were amended and changed where those changes would come into effect immediately.”

“I don’t think it would be such a lengthy process to be honest it would be a mere publishing in the government gazette.”

During the launch of a vaccine manufacturing campus in Cape Town in January, Ramaphosa said the NCCC is examining whether government can use ordinary health regulations to manage the pandemic. 

Listen to more local news below Jacaranda
Jacaranda FM

Show's Stories