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South Africa court rules COVID-19 lockdown measures unconstitutional
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South Africa court rules COVID-19 lockdown measures unconstitutional

South Africa’s High Court ruled Wednesday that some of the level 3 and 4 lockdown measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 were “unconstitutional and invalid,” ordering a 14-day period to overhaul the restrictions.

At the start of the pandemic, South Africa had the most restrictive lockdown measures, including a ban on alcohol and cigarette sales. The lawsuit, filed by the Liberty Fighters Network advocacy group in May, argued that the ANC government’s reaction to the epidemic violated South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

While the lockdown measures have been reduced from level 5 to level 3, Judge Norman Davis declared that the contraventions did not satisfy the “rationality test” in public law and intruded on the freedoms expressed in the Bill of Rights. Irrationality can be expressed as citizens were able to “buy a jersey but not undergarments or open-toed shoes.”

Since March 26, Police Minister Bheki Cele reported 230,000 cases open for violating lockdown regulations, with 35,812 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 755 deaths so far.

For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.