AfriForum wins costs in case against government’s Covid-19 state of disaster

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    Nat Quinn
    The civil rights organisation AfriForum today won a cost order in the High Court in Pretoria for legal action that the organisation launched in 2022 against the extension of government’s national state of disaster. AfriForum signed court documents in February 2022 requesting the High Court to declare the state of disaster invalid and unlawful. Despite the organisation’s impending legal action, on 15 March 2022 the government extended the state of disaster for a further month.
    Nevertheless, the government soon changed its mind again and suspended the national state of disaster on 4 April 2022. However, this suspension was largely eye-blinding, as many of the Covid-19 regulations promulgated during the state of disaster still remained in place thereafter. Following a transitional period, government’s amendments to the National Health Act, announced in March 2022, would come into effect. These amendments would have meant that most of the Covid-19 regulations would have been permanently enrolled in the Health Act.
    AfriForum also took legal action against these amendments of regulations of the National Health Act on 9 May 2022 and government was forced to scrap these regulations as well. Furthermore, AfriForum in a letter to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) claimed costs for the legal action that it launched against the state of disaster. AfriForum argues that government ended the state of disaster as a result of the organisation’s impending legal action. COGTA was finally ordered by the Supreme Court on March 24, 2023, to pay costs.
    “AfriForum fought strongly against government’s abuse of power and cruel policies during the entire lockdown during Covid-19 with many successes. The state of disaster case was just one of many cases that AfriForum launched and won in the interest of its members and the broader public. It is thanks to the continued pressure of our and other civil rights organisations that government has finally abolished the state of disaster – the cost order in AfriForum’s favour confirms this,” says Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for strategy and content at AfriForum.
    Statement by AfriForum.
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