NATIONAL NEWS - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has said that government is confident about the prospects of its appeal of the high court ruling that declared the lockdown regulations invalid and unconstitutional.
Mthembu was on Thursday briefing the media on the outcomes of a special cabinet meeting convened to deal with the judgment delivered by the Gauteng Division of the High Court on Tuesday declaring the alert level 4 and alert level 3 lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid.
Mthembu said cabinet was concerned about the judgment, hence the decision to take the matter on appeal.
He said cabinet believed that government had been transparent on the regulations and what informed the decision to implement the lockdown and had not done anything justifying the adverse high court judgment.
Mthembu said cabinet was “very confident” that all lockdown levels “were crafted to save lives”; “that’s what we were about”.
The minister said a number of public commentators and the World Health Organisation had applauded the South African government for the steps it had taken to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
These steps allowed for the slowing down of the infection rate and gave the country’s hospitals time to prepare and be ready for the “inevitable spike” of the pandemic, Mthembu said.
He said Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and other experts had commented on the matter and said the steps taken by the government thus far had been “spot on”.
Mthembu said other commentators had said that had the government not taken these steps, Covid-19 infections and deaths could be “eight times” the current rate, adding that government’s decisions had “assisted us to save lives and that is what we are proud of”.
Mthembu said the appeal court papers were yet to be filed as cabinet had only resolved on the matter on Thursday.
He said that until the appeal was heard by the relevant court, the current lockdown regulations would remain in place and he urged South Africans to adhere and comply with these accordingly.
The minister also announced that cabinet had taken the decision to extend the lockdown from 15 June for a month.
“If there is a need for us to extend again in July based on scientific evidence we will do so, as cabinet,” Mthembu said.