Press Statement dated 22 June 2022

Solidarity today welcomed the lifting of the controversial health regulations by the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla. This is after Solidarity submitted a letter to the Department of Health on Monday, 20 June stating that it will apply for a punitive costs order against government if the regulations are not lifted before Solidarity’s court case.

Solidarity, AfriForum and other interest groups took government to court over these regulations. The lifting of these regulations puts an end to the compulsory wearing of masks indoors, to the limitations of numbers in stadiums and theatres, as well as travel restrictions to South Africa.

Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive Officer of Solidarity, explained the following, “There was no way that the regulations would have passed a legal test in court. These regulations were born out of sin right from the start. It created the absurd situation where the South African public did not know by 23:00 at night what will greet them in the morning. It was totally unacceptable and threatened to make the extremely damaging phenomena, of so-called family meetings and “with immediate effect” during the state of disaster, permanent.”

According to Solidarity, the government had no choice but to withdraw these regulations before they appeared in court. Solidarity further states that it is now the second time that the government suddenly lifts regulations before being challenged in court by Solidarity.

“Just like the state of disaster, these regulations were also irrational and unlawful. And just like the lifting of the state of disaster on 5 April 2022, government realised it and wanted to avoid the court case at all costs. The regulations were procedurally and substantively unlawful. Naturally we welcome the withdrawal thereof, but the regulations should not have been there in the first place. We trust that government has finally learnt its lesson in terms of the consequences that the unreasonable restriction of citizens’ rights have,” concluded Hermann.

Anton van der Bijl

Head of Legal Matters