On 2 June 2020, Judge N Davis, sitting in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, handed down a judgment declaring invalid the regulations made by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002. An application had been brought by one Reyno Dawid de Beer and a voluntary community association known as the Liberty Fighters Network. Another non-profit organisation, the Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, also addressed the Court as an "amicus curiae".

In his judgement, Judge Davis ruled that the manner in which the Regulations curtailed the constitutional rights of the public (in particular the rights to freedom of movement, association and economic activity) bore no rational relationship to the objective the Regulations the intended to achieve, namely to slow the rate of infection and curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He upheld the declaration of a state of emergency by the Minister, but declared the Regulations invalid, with the exception of:

  • Regulation 36 (prohibiting eviction from residential premises)
  • Regulation 38 (prohibiting initiation practices)
  • Regulations 39(2)(d) and (e) (closure of night clubs and casinos); and
  • Regulation 41 (closure of national borders)

The Minister has been given a period of 14 days to review, amend and republish the Regulations "with due consideration for the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution". During this period the Alert Level 3 lockdown regulations published on 28 May will remain in effect.

The Court expressly did not deal with the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products during the lockdown, noting that it is the subject of another application to be heard in the near future.

Originally published 02 June 2020 .

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