To stop NDZ in her tracks, DA requests urgent court date for our existing challenge to Disaster Management Act

Issued by Cilliers Brink MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
10 Feb 2023 in News

Please find attached an English and an Afrikaans soundbite by Cilliers Brink MP.

In addition to challenging the national State of Disaster (SoD) that was announced last night, the DA will write to the Judge President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for an urgent court date to hear our existing challenge to the constitutionality of Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act (DMA).

Should the DA’s application be successful, it will stop the recently declared SoD before it starts, and spare South Africans Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s penchant to abuse power using the DMA.

Since 2021, the DA has been engaged in a legal fight to have Section 27 of the DMA declared unconstitutional as it leaves Parliament with no formal and direct supervisory role on decisions taken under the Act, even as it transfers extensive legislative powers to the national executive for indefinite periods of time.

In terms of the Act, the power to declare a national state of disaster is in the hands of one person – the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The incumbent in that job isn’t famous for her love of accountability.

What constitutes a national disaster is so vaguely defined that the decision almost amounts to a discretion. Once such a national state of disaster is declared, the self-same minister then obtains the power to make regulations and issue directions concerning vast swathes of ordinary life – and to authorise others to do the same. And before the national State of Disaster expires, the same minister has the power to extend such a national State of Disaster for a period of one month at a time, ad infinitum.

Section 27 as it stands, gives Dlamini-Zuma extensive power to declare a State of Disaster without tabling it in Parliament and does not compel her to provide reasons for regulations made and directions issued under such a declaration. Worst of all, Dlamini-Zuma, and not Parliament, has the power to authorise the extensions of a national state of disaster. Basically, Dlamini-Zuma becomes a law unto herself.

By announcing a “national State of Disaster”, which is the complete opposite of a targeted State of Disaster on Eskom and the electricity sector that the DA has been calling for, Ramaphosa opened up an avenue for corruption for connected cadres to loot from South African taxpayers. The DA will not stand for this and it’s precisely why we are challenging the legality of the State of Disaster announced by Ramaphosa, and Dlamini-Zuma’s powers under Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act.