South African court declares lockdown regulations "unconstitutional"

A soldier of South African National Defense Force carries a baby in his arm in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 20, 2020. Photo by Yeshiel/Xinhua

CAPE TOWN, June 2 (Xinhua) -- A South African court ruled on Tuesday that the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country are "unconstitutional" and "invalid."

"Some of the regulations promulgated by the government simply did not meet the rationality test in preventing the spread of COVID-19," the North Gauteng High Court said in its ruling.

 

The court gave the government 14 days to amend and republish the regulations to avoid infringing on people's rights.

 

The court decision followed an application by the Liberty Fighters Network, which asked the court to declare the national state of disaster, established under the Disaster Management Act, "unconstitutional and unlawful."

 

South Africa imposed the lockdown on March 27 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was lowered from level five to level four on May 1 and again eased to level three on June 1.

Critics said some of the lockdown regulations such as the ban on alcohol and tobacco products, the shutdown of business and strict restrictions on people's movement "violate the rights of almost every citizen in the country."

In response to the ruling, the government said in a statement it will study the judgment. "Cabinet will make a further statement once it has fully studied the judgment," the statement said.  

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