Africa-Press – South-Africa. Johannesburg – The North Gauteng High Court will decide on Friday if Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma violated its order declaring lockdown regulations unconstitutional and irrational and should be jailed.
Tshwane-based Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) wants the high court to hold Dlamini Zuma in contempt of court for apparently ignoring Judge Norman Davis’s June 2, 2020, ruling rendering unconstitutional and irrational parts of the Disaster Management Regulations promulgated after President Cyril Ramaphosa announce the state of national disaster.
The organisation approached the high court last month accusing Dlamini Zuma of violating the June 2020 court order and asked that she be imprisoned for six months or period to be determined by Judge Davis.
Among the wide-ranging orders the LFN sought include asking the high court to impose any additional or alternative penalty on the former African Union Commission chairperson as it deems appropriate under the circumstances and declare the several extensions of the state of national disaster since March last year unconstitutional and invalid.
However, a war of words has now erupted between the Office of the State Attorney and the LFN over Judge Davis’s delay in finalising its application, which was heard on January 12.
This followed the unusual step taken by the LFN to write an urgent letter to Judge Davis and his boss, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, earlier this month stating that the failure to finalise the matter was placing South Africans in a difficult predicament as they continue to be arrested for violating the regulations set aside by the June 2020 court order.
”The applicants apologises for having been put in this unfortunate position to request Your Lordship to please consider speeding up the judgment delivery,” the LFN’s Reyno de Beer wrote to the judges on February 4.
The Office of the State Attorney, which represents Dlamini Zuma, took exception with the letter to Judge Davis and Judge President Mlambo.
”We strongly object to De Beer’s communication with the court after the matter has been heard and while the judgment is pending,” the Office of the State Attorney wrote the day after the LFN’s letter to the judges.
The State Attorney continued: “We request that De Beer’s letter be disregarded. We also urge you (Judge Davis) to reprimand De Beer and order him to desist from further communication with you”.
De Beer said he only directed a polite letter to Judge Davis asking him to consider speeding up the delivery of his judgment.
”There are simply just too unwritten rules and practices of the legal fraternity,” De Beer complained, adding that he merely assumed in good faith as a layperson he was entitled to make such a request.
On Monday, Judge Davis assured the parties that he will deliver his judgment on Friday.
Dlamini Zuma is appealing Judge Davis’s June 2020 ruling at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) but has been refused leave to challenge the declaration of invalidity of six of the regulations.
The six regulations include the curfew between 6am and 6pm, restrictions on the movement of children, limited attendance of funerals, closing of beaches and public parks as well as businesses that can operate such as restaurants and on-site consumption of liquor, among others.
Last month, the SCA declared invalid the level four regulations limiting the exercising (walking, running and cycling) between 6am and 9am within a five kilometres radius from a person’s residence and prohibiting the sale of hot cooked food other than through delivery to a person’s home.