Business interest organisation Sakeliga has urged companies not to support the transitional state of disaster regulations proposed by cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The group has called for a “unilateral return to common sense” in light of “increasingly irrational and harmful” government action.
“We encourage businesses to see these regulations as bait, which if taken serves to maintain the perception of a disaster and lend the state insidious legitimacy for permanent interference in these and more matters of business and life in which it has no jurisdiction,” Sakeliga said.
“Businesses should reject being used as enforcement arms for poor state policy.”
“A government going down a destructive path such as this should know businesses oppose them, in the interests not only of repairing employment opportunities for millions of people ravaged by lockdown, but fundamentally to rebuild a flourishing economy and society devastated by decades of state incompetence and harmful policy.”
The group previously issued a letter of demand to the minister that government must lift the state of disaster. It contends there is no basis for the Covid-19 curbing measures it imposes.
The organisation is considering expanding its current litigation to account for the newly-announced regulations.
“Sakeliga rejects the latest regulations proposed under the state of disaster which now seek to unlawfully keep ineffective and unnecessary measures in place even after the (already unlawful) state of disaster is lifted.”
Sakeliga argues that the minister would be acting outside the bounds of the law if she promulgated the proposed regulations.
“She may not continue to wield powers granted under the state of disaster after the state of disaster has been lifted,” the group explained.
Sakeliga maintains that the “appropriate and lawful course of action” was to completely abandon the state of disaster, all regulations made under it, and alternative rules intended to replace it.
“Government’s continued insistence on prolonging its manifest policy disasters in the face of the latest employment data and when so many countries have withdrawn all Covid-19 regulations is revealing of how out of touch it is,” Sakeliga stated.
“The employment data shows that two million people are still unable to recover their jobs lost since the state of disaster was first declared and reckless lockdown restrictions implemented, while waves of new young entrants to the job market are unable to find work.”
The group has also specifically discouraged businesses and the public from cooperating with “divisive and unhelpful” distinctions between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“There is no basis for the government’s harmful and unscientific prescription that businesses should monitor people for proof of vaccination or of a 72-hour negative Covid-19 test result at premises of some arbitrary capacity,” Sakeliga stated.
Sakeliga’s latest blasting of the government’s approach to ending the state of disaster comes after labour union Solidarity and civil rights organisation Afriforum, who both fall under the Solidarity Movement, sued the government to end the state of disaster.
In papers filed at the start of February, the organisations claimed the ongoing lockdown regulations were irrational and extremely damaging to the economy and social and political norms in South Africa.
Health experts have also slammed proposed amendments to the National Health Act that would effectively keep many of the current lockdown regulations in place as “incoherent and illogical”.