gavel thumb100 BusinessLive reports that the government and the courts are gearing up for possible urgent legal challenges to the state’s emergency lockdown regulations, which have been formulated in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.  

The regulations, which will go into effect from midnight on Thursday, were published in the Government Gazette — a process required to ensure they are legally binding — late on Wednesday afternoon.  Justice & constitutional development minister Ronald Lamola linked the regulations and their implementation to section 36 of the constitution, which allows for the limitation of constitutional rights “to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society”.  Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Wednesday pointed to the possibility of legal challenges “in relation to the constitutionality or the validity of the measures being implemented” by the state and said courts “therefore have to stay open” to deal with such cases.  Mogoeng delegated the heads of all lower and superior courts to issue their own directives “that would enable access to courts in relation to any urgent matter, bail applications, maintenance and domestic violence-related matters and cases involving children issues”.

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