Solidarity says it will request a punitive costs order if Health Minister Dr Joe Phaala does not withdraw the controversial health regulations.
Writing in Politicsweb, Solidarity’s Anton van der Bijl, head: legal matters, said its application requesting the regulations be declared invalid will be argued in court on 25-27 July. However, it wants the regulations withdrawn before that date. The application of organisations such as AfriForum will be heard on the same day.
Solidarity’s demand came after the minister’s record in the case had been filed. The organisation says the government’s own record confirms the regulations are unlawful. Solidarity chief executive Dr Dirk Hermann said the regulations were clearly substantively and procedurally unlawful. Defending the controversial regulations in court will waste taxpayers’ money and the court’s time.
According to Solidarity’s letter, rationality is the criterion against which the regulations should be measured: the regulations do not pass the test for rationality, it wrote, and this is so obvious that it is unnecessary for a judge to make this ruling.
The minister ignored his own advisory committee, Solidarity said in the letter. The committee indicated that wearing masks outdoors could not be scientifically justified, and that the unconditional wearing of masks indoors would also not pass the legal test.
“These regulations are not about masks, but about power and exerting control. Through these regulations the minister wants to convert the temporary COVID-19 control measures into permanent control measures,” Hermann said.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee had said the measures were insufficient to prevent the spread of the virus, but these same measures are now being promulgated into new regulations, added Solidarity.
The substantive immunity of the population through vaccinations and infections is also not taken into account in the regulations, it said, and it appeared as though the old regulations had merely been copied and pasted without any consideration of new circumstances. The Minister simply ignored the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee.
Government records also show that comments that had been submitted were not properly taken into consideration. Thousands of comments had not even been processed when the regulations were published. Solidarity has also accused the Minister of ignoring the mandatory comment period of three months, saying he also did not consult with the National Health Authority as required.
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