Business group Sakeliga today exercised its right to mediation with government on the lockdown regulations.
In a letter to the Solicitor-General, Sakeliga requests his facilitation for mediation with the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zyma, under regulation 13 of the State of Disaster Regulations promulgated on 30 April 2020. Both the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Minister of Police were also included in the letter.
Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga, says the purpose of the mediation is to reach agreement with Government on restoring freedom of movement and freedom to work before litigation is undertaken in the alternative. “We share the general sense of urgency about the current economic and growing humanitarian crisis. However, litigation is unlikely to offer results before several weeks from now, comes with risks of its own, and require further preparation. Meanwhile, we are seizing the opportunity to mediate.”
Sakeliga’s call for mediation focuses on the issue of permits for travel and so-called “essential” and “permitted” services.
Le Roux says the permit system “creates a situation where everything that is not explicitly authorised is forbidden – a drastically unconstitutional situation. It is fundamentally impossible to comply with and unclear to employers, employees, the broader public, and law enforcement. In addition, all authority for the determination of the validity of these permits are placed exclusively within the purview of law enforcement. This has already led to unlawful arrests and obstruction, exposes the public to unreasonable encroachments on their rights, and causes economic damage with no benefit to public health. It is, furthermore, in violation of the principles of rule of law, legality, the separation of powers, and various other requirements of constitutionalism.”
South Africa has, for a number of weeks, been subjected to a new, highly complex, one-sided regulatory framework, Le Roux continues: “It was supposed to be temporary, but now seems likely to continue for months on end. Considering this fact, it is crucial that the public’s institutional memory of a constitutional order with the separation of powers is maintained. We run the risk that the centralisation of all power in the executive branch becomes normal to the public and the state, to the detriment of the judicial and legislative branches of provincial, local and traditional authorities, as well as of community institutions such as churches, business groupings, and other civil society organisations. This would bring about unthinkable economic and social harm.”
In the letter, Sakeliga requests the Solicitor-General’s answer by the end of Monday the 4th of May.