The DA welcomes the extension of the public participation process for the Regulations in the Government Gazette to the National Health Act 61 of 2003. The public participation process, which opened on 15 March, were set to close on 15 April 2022. During today’s parliamentary portfolio committee on health meeting, the Department of Health announced a 7-day extension to the public participation process, which will now close on 22 April 2022.
This extension is in response to the DA’s letter to Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, highlighting various reports that email submissions were deleted without being viewed.
Although we welcome the extension, emails that were deleted are potentially lost and we therefore call on the Department to conduct an audit of the emails that were received as well as a technical system assessment in order to prevent such an error from happening again.
The DA has raised serious concerns with these regulations, including:
- Forced quarantine, without the option of refusal, in the event of a positive Covid-19 case;
- Forced testing and taking of bodily samples, without the option of refusal, in the event of a positive Covid-19 case, or worse, upon the mere suspicion of a positive test;
- Forced treatment or providing of prophylaxis, without the option of refusal, in the event of a positive Covid-19 test. Currently, the only lawful prophylaxis for Covid-19 are the various vaccines as approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency (SAHPRA); and
- The ability to enforce trivial limitations on gatherings and funerals without the need for scientific based evidence or input, which will continue to destroy small businesses and the entertainment and restaurant industry.
There has already been more than 160 000 submissions regarding the Regulations.
Public participation is a central part of our democracy and although this could very well be technical error, South Africans deserve to know if their submissions have been viewed.
The 7-day extension is welcomed and we encourage South Africans to submit their concerns regarding the Regulations before 22 April 2022 via WhatsApp on 060 012 3456; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or via the website on www.health.gov.za/public-comments-on-regulations.