The COVID-19 lockdown alert Levels 3 and 4 have been declared invalid and unconstitutional.
The High Court in Pretoria has handed down this judgment.
The court, however, suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of 14 days.
Government has noted the decision and says the Level 3 regulations remain in operation for now.
The court has directed Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to amend and republish the regulations.
It says the regulations should guarantee the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Liberty Fighters Network had taken government to court, arguing the rules are unconstitutional.
Cabinet says it’ll make a statement once it’s fully studied the judgment.
On Friday 24 May, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane issued a report which found that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had acted improperly when he approved the early pension payout for former SARS senior official Ivan Pillay. The early pension payout was granted in Gordhan’s capacity as Finance Minister.
Following the report, Gordhan filed an urgent application with the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, in order for the court to to review and set aside the public protector’s findings that he violated the constitution.
Gordhan has called the findings by Mkhwebane that of “stunning incompetence, irrationality and negligence”.
Mkhwebane found Gordhan guilty of “violating the constitution” and instructed President Cyril Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against him.
Public calls for Gordhan to to suspend his participation in all structures of government until his name is cleared are growing.
Societal groups such as the African Transformation Movement (ATM) have called on President Ramaphosa to “act in consideration of the facts contained in the report”, as South Africa “can simply not afford to have elected and appointed individuals tainted by a grand authority such as the Public Protector”.
By Natasha Marrian for Business Day
The ANC has decided to change the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
This was decided at a two-day lekgotla held in Irene, outside Pretoria, which concluded on Tuesday.
The move is seen as one which reflects the majority perspective expressed at the ongoing hearings on land taking place across the country headed by Parliament’s Constitutional Review Committee.
Business Day understands that a decision was taken by the ANC national executive committee lekgotla to “amend the Constitution to explicitly allow for expropriation without compensation”.
The party is set to make a submission to the parliamentary process under way to this effect.
The decision has far-reaching consequences for both the South African economy as well as its political space. It comes following yet another quarter in which the South African economy has shed jobs, with Statistics SA announcing an increase in the unemployment rate on Tuesday. The move is set to further dent investor sentiment and confidence by local business in the economy.
However, it can be viewed as a decidedly political move to neutralise the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) whose members have been dominating parliamentary hearings on whether the Constitution should be amended.
The ANC in a statement from President Cyril Ramaphosa late on Tuesday said it had become “patently clear that our people want the Constitution be more explicit about expropriation of land without compensation, as demonstrated in the public hearings.
“There is also a growing body of opinion, by a number of South Africans, that the Constitution as it stands does not impede expropriation of land without compensation.
“The lekgotla reaffirmed its position that a comprehensive land reform programme that enables equitable access to land will unlock economic growth, by bringing more land in South Africa to full use, and enable the productive participation of millions more South Africans in the economy,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“Accordingly, the ANC will, through the parliamentary process, finalise a proposed amendment to the Constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be affected.”
There has been intense debate inside the ANC about whether Section 25 of the Constitution should be amended to expropriate land without compensation.
The ANC took the decision on expropriation without compensation at its national elective conference at Nasrec in December. It partnered with the EFF in Parliament in February to vote for a motion for the expropriation of land without compensation. The EFF wants all SA land to belong to the state, but the ANC’s stance on this remains unclear. There have been dissenting views inside the ANC and the alliance over whether it was necessary to amend the Constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation.
Ramaphosa’s own investment envoy, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, said in June that explaining SA’s ongoing land debate to investors had been tougher than expected.
Controversial advisor to finance minister Malusi Gigaba, Professor Chris Malikane, has warned South Africans to be “prepared for the worst” for radical economic transformation to succeed in South Africa, according to a report by the City Press.
Speaking at a Blacks in Dialogue event in Johannesburg on Saturday evening, Malikane was frank about the reality of radical economic transformation – but doubled down on his support of it, calling for changes to the Constitution and the nationalisation of major sectors of the economy.
Malikane said that a radical economic transformation policy would plunge the country into a crisis, based on what happened in Venezuela, India and Zimbabwe – where similar strategies were introduced – and that people needed to prepare themselves for that eventuality.
“If we are real about transformation, we need to be real and strengthen our people ideologically and politically. We need to organise and educate our people. Did you think to transform is going to be nice?” he asked.
“We need a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution. Otherwise, to achieve what we want to achieve, we need to go that route [take up arms]. Let’s try two-thirds. I don’t like war,” Malikane said.
Earlier this month the national treasury was forced to put out a number of fires after Malikane published an article advocating, among other things, the nationalisation of banks.
In an opinion piece published in the Sunday Times, Malikane said he was in favour of government taking over the banks, mines and insurance companies.
National Treasury said in an explanatory statement that the views expressed in the opinion piece were not necessarily government policy. “Professor Malikane is within his rights as an academic and an activist to contribute ideas to national discourse on any subject.
“Minister Malusi Gigaba wishes to place on record that the work of the Ministry of Finance will continue to be guided by policies of the ANC, as articulated in conference resolutions and in the 2014 election manifesto.”
The disconnect between the finance minister and his adviser has caused concern amongst financial analysts, opposition parties and civil groups, who have noted that such a drastic difference in policies reflected poorly on a country which was facing extreme economic volatility.