In the news today:
- The government giveth. Or do they?
- Level 3 to start on 1 June announces Ramaphosa, despite numerous calls by experts to end the ridiculous lockdown completely.
- Could this be a glimmer of hope for South Africans?
- Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng calls all citizens to court if they feel constitutionally violated.
Late last night, the president of the country came onto National TV and said that South Africa will move to level three of the lockdown come June 1st. However, South Africa will not be the land of milk and honey after, or under lockdown. Think about it, the scientists say the lockdown doesn’t work, and that it’s nonsense. The media have said to end the lockdown because it’s hurting people. Economists have come out to say that there are much better ways to curb the virus while protecting the economy. But what does the ANC say? They say let’s double down on the lockdown. That it will give an inch and go down to level three. According to the president, he is worried about certain ‘hotspots’ around the country, that have five cases per a hundred thousand people, notably the major metros of the country.
Why is this a concern? Well, the major metros of the country are mostly the economic engines of the entire country as well. And I quote, “Any area of the country could be moved back to Alert level four or five if the infection reaches worrying levels.”
What is the definition of worrying levels? We don’t know.
I know my audience love the graphs and tables, so let me just indulge you for one moment. Basically, all economic activity is permitted aside from a few exceptions, which I will cover in a moment. All retail is allowed. Alcohol can be sold, under strict conditions and only on certain days. Thankfully, the military curfew has been lifted. Still, there might be additional restrictions on those who live in so-called hotspot areas. The exercise window has been done away with, and now you can exercise whenever you want to, as long as it’s not in groups. All public gatherings are prohibited as well.
But all this really means nothing until the prime minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma comes to speak to the nation. She has a habit of not toeing the president’s line, so to speak. As for that economic activity that cannot be opened at this moment, it’s the ones that come to mind where a crowd gathers. Nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, and theatres. It’s a little bit up in the air, whether hair salons and the aesthetic industry can come back on board. We’ll have to wait until proper regulations are actually drafted and shown to the public.
Before we move entirely away from the level three announcement, I thought Sakeliga had probably one of the best press statements about the impact of the lockdown generally, and the notion of level three in particular.
So I thought, let me just share that with you, as this is a vitally important sentence:
“Despite growing scientific and public consensus that the lockdown no longer serves a justified purpose, the government has doubled down. It remains committed to the strategy of a protracted phasing out of lockdown over what appears to be at least several months.”
Let us not forget who says the lockdown is unscientific. Most members of the Medical Advisory Committee that work closely with the NCC have said that the lockdown is irrational, or they have stated that the lockdown has fulfilled its purpose, or they have stated that the lockdown has not worked at all. So extending it will have no benefit whatsoever. If we assume that they are correct, level three, level two, or level one, regardless of what point of the lockdown we are at, is entirely pointless.
It appears that really very few people have actually picked up on this. If the lockdown has no justified purpose, it doesn’t matter what level we are on. It doesn’t matter what economic sector the government wants to switch on or off.
The whole thing is illegitimate. Thankfully, the Sakeliga have pointed that fact out. However, despite the illegitimacy, they are a few rays of sunshine, and I quote:
“Notably level three, insofar as the records of the speech and leaked draft regulations, could reverse gear on economic prohibition, instead of outlawing everything. Except that which the government permits. The level three plan instead sets general conditions, and they prohibit only specific sectors and activities.”
This was recommended time and time again, by the Sakeliga, Russell & Bertie from ETM analytics, and by myself as well. Thankfully, it appears the government sort of understands that now, so they’re opening up economic activity wider without the requirements of permits in this regard.
That’s a good thing. But, the rays of sunshine and hopeful rainbows, are always preceded by dark clouds of thunder, and level three is no different. I’m afraid, and I quote: “To welcome the announcement made by President Ramaphosa tonight. As if they go far enough. As if we have not learned how easily positions are reversed. As if what remains, is not arbitrary cumbersome and harmful, would be to put relief before resolve.”
No doubt today you’ll be reading many, many news articles saying how excellent level three is. How great it is that people can go back to work, but never forget. We are still under house arrest. For the most part, there are still arbitrary regulations and prohibitions on hundreds of thousands of people in the hospitality industry, in the hairdressing industry and in the tobacco industry. If we go back to the crux of the matter, the lockdown is unscientific and cannot be justified, those prohibitions are entirely unjustified.
Could this be a glimmer of hope for South Africans?
The name Mogoeng Mogoeng is not mentioned very often on this channel, the Chief Justice of South Africa is quite a private person. He doesn’t make too many public appearances, but he had a fascinating interview with news 24 last week, and I thought I could highlight a few quotes for you.
“The courts have the final say on the validity, or otherwise, of measures taken during the State of Emergency.” Our constitutional rights are crucial, and there can never be a situation where any of us are not subject to constitutional review.”
Then he goes on to say he encourages each citizen, who believes that their rights have been infringed to, without hesitation, approach the courts so that the courts; who are constitutionally ordained to look into the constitutionality of the acts or conduct of anyone, can review the matter, and decide whether or not citizens have been wronged, or citizens have been acting under an incorrect understanding of what the position is.
This is quite a fascinating interview, for various reasons. The Chief Justice doesn’t really talk about political aspects of the country at all, whereas this seems to be an interview or a scenario where he welcomes people to use the courts to understand their rights, especially in a situation as we are, in a state of disaster.
So the chief justice is basically asking people to come to court to understand what their rights are and to protect their rights anyway. This seems to me like an open invitation for the DA to go to court to test whether the Disaster Management Act is actually constitutional. It almost seems like the Chief Justice is inviting those sort of court cases to come to court, to sort of stymies or mitigate the effects of the state of disaster. So, if we look at the court cases ongoing, currently we have the DA questioning the constitutionality of the disaster management act. We have Sakeliga looking at the permitting system in general, and we have a group of concerned citizens in the Western Cape questioning the constitutionality of the disaster act as well.
Also, there are a myriad of other court cases concerning the BEE regulations and specific regulations passed by minister Ebrahim Patel. And if the chief justice welcomes all of these challenges, I wonder if that will impact the way the courts will look at these various challenges going forward. Still, I think we should be reasonably happy with the notion that the Chief Justice believes and understands that the constitution is Supreme and that aggrieved people must go to the courts, to find relief and hopefully the courts can grant that relief as well.
Still, as always, we will wait and see what the judges say, once these cases come before their desk.
With that, I end today’s article. Thank you so much for joining. As always, if you want to support the Morning Shot, you can do by selecting the fund tab. You can use Zapper, PayPal, Patreon, or by becoming a member on my YouTube channel. Otherwise, please do share the article if you know someone who will find it useful. Feel free to comment on your views below. I will see you again tomorrow morning, first thing. Have a good day. Bye-bye.
Chief Justice Mogoeng: