The South African government has finally yielded to months of public and political pressure, and it is now clear that the national state of disaster will be ended.
For months now Covid-19 has failed to conform to any legal definition of “a national disaster”, and so there has been no constitutional basis for the repeated extensions of the national state of disaster.
The decision reached by the government apparently follows an emergency cabinet meeting. And as welcome as it is, it could have been reached months ago, and this could have saved the economy serious harm.
The DA regards the government’s climb-down on the continuous rolling over the national state of disaster as a victory, but we will not be celebrating yet.
We are deeply concerned that this is only a tactical concession, and that the government intends to hang onto lockdown powers by using national health regulations.
We also can not help but wonder if Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s announcement today was not a last-ditch attempt to paint the incompetent, poverty Cabinet in a better light on the eve of the DA’s Motion of No Confidence in the Cabinet that will be debated in Parliament tomorrow.
If so, it certainly did not work.
Today’s announcement came much too late and at an enormous cost to millions of South Africans.