On 22 June, South Africans received the good news that Covid restrictions were finally lifted. No more mask-wearing, no entry requirements and no limits on social gatherings.  This came 810 days after lockdown started. South Africa had been one of the few countries in the world remaining with restrictions in place for no logical reason, and against the government’s own advisory committee.

While there is a sense of relief that the restrictions have been lifted, there also seems to be mistrust and oftentimes a sense of apathy.

Restrictions are gone, however, the recently proposed amendments to the Health Act are alive and well.

The proposed amendments to the Health Act are nothing short of draconian and dictatorial. There is absolutely no sound reason for it. It could be argued that they are an attempt by government to make the State of Disaster a permanent feature – giving the government power and control over the citizens of the country. This is certainly not the South Africa of democracy and freedom for which so many people suffered and died.

South Africans can help stop this by taking part in the Public Participation Process. Public Participation has been extended; now it is open until 5 August.

The fact that this is about amendments to the law, as opposed to the creation of new laws, makes for a dangerous problem (in any context, not just the Health Act).

In ‘Subordinate legislation’ – it does not need to go through parliament to be approved, or go to the committee for discussion. It only happened in this case, because of the pressure put on the Health Minister, regarding the amendments, by those parties who oppose them. Otherwise the minister, legally, has full discretion for those changes.

It is worth noting, that every party, except the ANC, did not support the amendments.

The Amendments

The proposed amendments give minister unbelievable power.

If you are suspected of having or being able to spread one of the Notifiable Medical Conditions (a list which, incidentally, is not defined), you may be subjected to:

–       Being forcefully detained and forced to isolate for a period of time.

–       Being forced to have medical “treatments” / experiments and tests.

–       Having no bodily autonomy.

Have your say

Official government public participation process

Submit your concerns via WhatsApp on 060 012 3456; e-mail at legalreviews@health.gov.za; or via the website on www.health.gov.za/public-comments-on-regulations.

Other civil organisations

There are numerous petitions on Change.org, but it is suggested that you check what the petition organiser is going to do with the signature, and still take part in the official public participation process anyway.

We cannot allow South Africa to become a police state with such tyrannical laws. We must stand for our freedom and keep our fragile democracy in tact.

This article was first published here.

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