AfriForum achieved success in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday by obtaining a costs order against the government for the legal action launched last year against the extension of the national state of disaster.
In February 2022, the civil rights organization submitted court documents in which the court was requested to declare the state of disaster as “invalid” and “unlawful”.
Despite the organisation’s threatened legal action, in March last year the government still extended the state of disaster by a further month.
However, the government changed its mind shortly afterwards and the national state of emergency was finally suspended in April 2022.
However, according to Ernst van Zyl, campaign officer for strategy and content at AfriForum, the suspension was “largely blinding” because many of the Covid-19 regulations that applied during the state of disaster were still applicable afterwards.
“After a transition period, the government’s amendments to the National Health Act, which were announced in March 2022, would come into effect.
“These amendments would mean that most of the Covid-19 regulations would be permanently entered into the Health Act,” says Van Zyl.
AfriForum took a stand against this by starting legal action in May 2022 against the amendments to regulations of the National Health Act and the government was forced to delete these regulations as well.
AfriForum then sent a letter to the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in which the legal costs were demanded for the legal action that the organization launched against the state of disaster.
AfriForum argued that it is thanks to the organisation’s impending legal action that the state of disaster has finally ended.
Cogta was finally ordered by the High Court to pay the costs on Friday.
“The state of disaster case was just one of many cases that AfriForum launched and won in the interests of its members and the wider public. It is thanks to our and other civil rights organizations’ sustained pressure that the government has finally abolished the state of disaster – the costs order in AfriForum’s favor confirms this,” says van Zyl.
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