Business group Sakeliga today suggested that Government should apply the Siracusa Principles in the proposed revision of regulations for the current State of Disaster.
The Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an internationally respected guideline on regulations under states of emergency and disaster. It was developed in the 1980s, is supported by the World Health Organisation, and has been applied in both South African and international law.
Read against the Siracusa Principles, the current regulatory approach under the state of disaster has serious shortcomings, specifically regarding the following:
- Any limitation of rights must be drafted in terms of clear, accessible, predictable and understandable legal precepts.
- Any limitation of rights must be constrained to what is strictly necessary to contain the Covid-19 epidemic.
Sakeliga notes that the policy discussion paper released by ETM Analytics and supported by several prominent economists, businesses, chambers of commerce, and Sakeliga, represents a Siracusa Principles-compatible approach to a regulatory framework for South Africa.
Sakeliga’s suggestion that Government reconsider its lockdown approach is also made given waning public support. Public co-operation is essential for the maintenance of public health – something that can only be ensured with much more regulatory simplicity and clarity, and much more transparency and public participation on the models, indicators, individual regulations, and regulatory approach itself.