DearSA’s lockdown court action postponed

… to allow Ministers Dlamini-Zuma and Zweli Mkhize an opportunity to file adequate responses.


The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was served papers three weeks ago and has failed to submit a response, although she intends opposing the matter.

Furthermore, the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize has belatedly launched an application to intervene in the matter. DearSA will call on the Minister for his reasons to persist with the State of Disaster and ongoing health precautions, despite conflicting evidence and opinions regarding the effectiveness.

No formal responses in court papers have so far been received from either party.

DearSA intends refiling its court action challenging lockdown extensions early in the New Year to allow the government sufficient time to prepare their responses.

“We decided it would avoid a lot of time-wasting technical arguments to refile the case in January 2021, after the court’s break, by which time the two relevant ministries will have had time to formulate their responses,” says DearSA director Rob Hutchinson. “This is a case that must be brought before the courts, as this is something that we know has huge public support, given the responses to the various campaigns where we canvassed public opinions on the lockdowns and the impact they are having on the country.”

“It is likely that had we gone to court on 1 December, denying the ministers an opportunity to respond, the court would have kicked us out with costs – putting an end to any further challenges from anyone. Furthermore, our bank account was frozen for reasons unknown. However, the delay places us in a far stronger position in Jan as there will be substantially more data in our favour.”

DearSA is working closely together with Liberty Fighters Network and PANDA to ensure a successful approach in Jan.

On Monday 16 November, DearSA served papers on the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. DearSA asked the Pretoria High Court to declare unlawful and set aside the lockdown extension declared by the Minister on 14 November 2020. Several groups plan to join DearSA as friends of the court, including Pandemic Data and Analytics (PANDA) and Liberty Fighters Network (LFN). Other groups have also indicated their desire to join the court action.

Given the delay in having the court action heard, there is a likelihood that the government will extend the lockdown yet again over the Christmas period.

The tool being used by the government to impose these lockdowns is the Disaster Management Act, which is intended for disasters of a temporary nature, and should not be used as a blunt instrument with which to severely restrict the Constitutional rights of South Africans, such as the right to earn a living, move around, and assemble.

Hutchinson says DearSA is obligated to bring this court challenge to determine the limits of government power and prevent further infringements of human rights.

The overwhelming majority of respondents to various DearSA participation campaigns believe the government has overstepped its powers and that the lockdowns represent an abuse of power.

The rationale behind the DearSA court action is that the original purpose for imposing lockdowns – to prevent the health system being overwhelmed by a virus about which we knew little at the start of the lockdowns – has been achieved. Evidence of this is the fact that the government has closed down temporary health facilities that were hastily assembled for this purpose. The health system has not been overwhelmed, notwithstanding a rise in infections in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

DearSA’s court papers argue that lockdown measures have had a devastating impact on the SA economy. In the first three months of lockdown, GDP contracted by more than 16%, giving an annualised decline of -51%. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, SA shed 2.2 million jobs, according to Statistics SA.

The court action challenges the rationality of government’s catastrophic actions on the economic welfare of the country, in the name of saving South Africans from a virus which the World Health Organisation (WHO) calculates has had a global infection fatality rate of less than 0.2%.

“We have decided to give Minister Dlamini-Zuma and Health Minister Mkhize time to formulate their responses to our court papers. This is a case that we believe is vital to the future wellbeing of the country as it will determine the limits of state power no and in the future when it comes to disasters of this nature,” says Hutchinson. “Our case is not going away. It must, and will, be heard early in the New Year.”

Dear South Africa asks high court to set aside latest lockdown

Intro: The lockdown restrictions are illogical and are done without Parliamentary oversight

Participative democracy group Dear South Africa has filed an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court to set aside the lockdown extension imposed on 13 November 2020.

The court application says the lockdown extensions are illogical and are being done without Parliamentary oversight, as required by the Constitution.

NDZ-state of disaster - DearSA

The only respondent in the case is the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She has until 18 November 2020 to oppose the matter.

Dear South Africa is also asking the court to declare the latest lockdown extension under the Disaster Management Act unlawful.

“South Africa is no longer faced with the uncertainties that it was confronted with when the initial state of disaster was enacted,” says Daniel Eloff of Hurter Spies, the attorneys representing Dear South Africa. “Consequently, government cannot continue to piggyback on a state of disaster for which the underlying and motivating reason has largely dispersed eight months since the initial declaration of the national state of disaster.”

In an affidavit before the court, Dear South Africa director Rob Hutchinson argues that Constitutional rights have been curtailed by the disaster regulations, including the rights to freedom of movement, residence, assembly, economic activity and education.

Businesses were shut down at the start of the Covid lockdown, schools were closed, and citizens’ rights to move and practice their professions and trades were severely curtailed.

“While many of these restrictions on fundamental rights have been lifted, the (minister) has imposed these restrictions without parliamentary oversight and may reimpose them. The (minister) is empowered to extend the state of disaster monthly ad infinitum without such oversight,” says the court application.

Regulations under the act may only be made to: protect or provide relief to the public; protect property; prevent or combat disruption; deal with the destructive and other effects of the disaster.

The original purpose of the lockdowns which commenced in March 2020 was to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Little was known about the virus at the time. Now we know much more.

Lockdowns will not save the lives of those who contract COVID-19 and do not require hospitalisation, according to Dear South Africa. Expert analysis by medical experts and epidemiologists conclude that the case fatality rate from the virus is 0% for those under 19, and for adults under 50 it is 0.5%.

The case fatality rate for SA is 2.7%. The World Health Organisation (WHO) noted on 22 October 2020 that 10% of the world’s population were reckoned to have been infected with the virus. Of these, 1.3 million people have died as of 14 November 2020, an infection fatality rate of 0.17%.

The lockdown measures have had a devastating impact on the SA economy. During April, May and June, when the most severe lockdown restrictions were in place, gross domestic product contracted by more than 16% giving an annualised decline of -51%. By comparison, in 2009, during the global financial crisis, the annualised decline was -6.1%. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, SA shed 2.2 million jobs, according to StatSA.

The South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) provided models to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), though it was not aware that these models were being used to inform policy. SACEMA abandoned its model soon after it was published and advised that it was not a tool for decision-making. That model’s replacement, the NICD’s “Epi Model” has not been updated since June 2020 and also appears to have been abandoned. When last updated, it forecast 40 000 deaths by the end of November 2020 – which has also proven to be wildly inaccurate. The actual number of fatalities currently sits at just above 20 000.

South Africans appear to have a high level of compliance with recommended rules regarding sanitation, wearing of masks and social distancing.

Dear South Africa says the recent extension of the lockdown is an “administrative act” which is reviewable by a court in terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). Reasons given for seeking to set aside and declare the extension unlawful include:

  • They were not rationally connected to the purpose for which they were taken
  • Irrelevant considerations were taken into account, or relevant considerations ignored
  • The extension is unconstitutional and unlawful.

While it may have been rational to have declared a state of disaster in March, much has changed since then. It is no longer rational to have the declaration in place and it should not have been extended.

The state of disaster grants the executive the power to pass draconian legislation which weakens the rights of all those who live in South Africa. The state of disaster can be extended ad infinitum by the minister without a requirement of parliamentary oversight. This has occurred, and continues to occur, which undermines our constitutional democracy, premised on a genuine separation of powers, says the court application.

If a second wave of infections occurs, the state has had ample time to prepare for this and a new state of disaster could be declared based on new circumstances that may arise. “It is improper to keep the current state of disaster perpetually in force on the basis that some new disaster may occur on some unknown date,” says the application.

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Dlamini-Zuma asked to provide reasons for extending lockdown – or see you in court.

DearSA attorneys Hurter Spies this week sent a letter [view below] to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma asking her to provide reasons why she extended the lockdown earlier this month and to give an undertaking no further extensions will be given.


She has also been asked to support her reasons with documents and expert evidence.

The minister has been given until 30 October 2020 to reply, failing which DearSA says it will approach the High Court for relief.

DearSA has run several public participation campaigns showing an overwhelming majority are against any further lockdowns.
The letter to the minister says DearSA believes that the extension published on 14 October 2020 “is irrational, unlawful, unreasonable, and therefore reviewable.”

Says DearSA project leader Rob Hutchinson: “After seven months of lockdown we now have a better understanding of the risks of Covid, and the best evidence tells us that further lockdowns will not materially impact the spread of the virus, but will do far more damage to the livelihoods of South Africans who have suffered a loss of income or jobs. Given the massive response to our public campaigns around various aspects of the lockdown, we are obligated to act in the public interest.”

The letter to the minister spells out why her decision to extend the lockdown is irrational:

  • The Covid-19 infection rate peaked several months ago, and the additional facilities provided by the health system to cope with the expected surge in traffic have been closed because the “wave has passed”. It is irrational to suggest that the healthcare system is still being prepared for a peak.
  • SA has conducted about 4.5 million tests is among the world leaders in tracking and tracing the spread of the disease.
  • Education on sanitisation and social distancing has been successful, with high levels of compliance. The lowering of the lockdown stringency levels has not resulted in any material increase in mortality or infections.
  • SA had about 50 000 active cases of Covid-19 over the course of the past week, well below the July peak of 173 590 active cases. At its peak, the death rate was about 300 per day. In the five days running up to the extension of the disaster, only 10 deaths per day were recorded. Influenza kills approximately 23 South Africans per day. TB kills more than 300 South Africans per day, AIDS another 300 South Africans per day.
  • The number of recorded Covid-19 deaths has been far lower than expected and currently totals just over 18 000 deaths.
  • The modelling relied upon by government have been shown to be wildly inaccurate and have been abandoned. It projected 40 000 deaths by the end of November this year, while the Actuarial Society of South Africa’s model has been trimmed to an estimate of 27 000 deaths from the virus. “PANDA – Pandemics and Data and Analytics, whose model is updated regularly, estimates 20,000 deaths by the end of the year and plots real-world data against the prediction which suggests this number to be accurate,” says the letter to the minister.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently published a paper by world-famous epidemiologist John Ioannidis which estimates the Infection Fatality Rate of the virus is less than 0.2%.

“As is evident from the above synopsis, South Africa is no longer faced with the uncertainties that it was confronted with when the initial state of disaster was enacted and declared. Consequently, the circumstances that prompted the declaration have disappeared and therefore the underlying motivation for the national state of disaster has as well,” says the letter.

In terms of Section 37 of the Constitution, a state of emergency may only be maintained for 90 days before its extension must be approved by Parliament. No such parliamentary approval has been obtained for the latest extension.

The letter asks the minister to provide written reasons for the lockdown extension, backed by supporting documents and expert evidence. It also requests that the minister immediately terminate the national state of disaster and provide an undertaking that there will be no further extensions of the disaster.

The minister has until 30 October 2020 to reply, failing which DearSA will be forced to approach the High Court for relief.

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The evidence is in: the lockdown has been a catastrophic failure

Written by Ciaran Ryan

Four months into the pandemic we have a clearer picture of the social and economic impacts of the lockdown.

It’s a catastrophe. The lockdown could kill far more people than the virus. At end July 2020, SA had 8,000 deaths from just short of 500,000 confirmed cases, for a case fatality rate of 1.6%.  Far more people will die this year from tuberculosis and diabetes than coronavirus.


Yet more people will die from poverty-induced illnesses in the years to come. An April analysis by Pandemic Data Analysis (PANDA) estimated years of life lost to the pandemic to be 14 million, or 30X more than from the virus itself.

Bear in mind that around 450,000 people die in SA each year from all causes (446,554 in 2017 and 470,396 in 2016). Coronavirus is hardly going to move this needle, even slightly.

In late March 2020, the government’s official data modellers suggested 351,000 could die from Covid-19 in South Africa. PANDA was hastily formed to challenge this wild spreadsheet modelling. The team comprises actuaries, data analysts, economists and other specialists. PANDA challenged the government’s models, suggesting that it was more likely that 10,000-20,000 would die from the virus. Based on the current figures, PANDA is right on target as the virus infection curve maps a typical epidemic decline tail.

“What has happened in the last four months is the greatest social injustice in SA’s history since apartheid,” says PANDA co-founder Nick Hudson. “The lockdown is based on bad science, poor modelling and even worse judgment on the part of the government.”

The real effects will be felt in the years to come, and it won’t be from Covid. It will be from poverty and its associated effects.

It is not difficult to understand why: an estimated 6 million South Africans have suffered income contraction so far this year, and the figure will likely rise to 10 million by September. It is well known that poverty shortens lifespan. Economist Dawie Roodt estimated roughly 300,000 deaths would arise from lockdown-induced poverty, based on examples of rising death rates in countries such as Greece after the 2008 financial collapse. There is an undeniable link between economic decline and death rates.

Yet the headlines tell us that SA has the fifth-highest number of infections in the world. That’s grossly misleading, says Hudson, and an inevitable consequence of increased testing. A more instructive statistic is to look at deaths per million of population, in which case SA ranks number 36 in the world (and 22nd in terms of absolute deaths).

With the benefit of four months’ worth of data from around the world, we now know that there was little difference between countries embracing a hard lockdown and those that didn’t. The outcomes were more or less the same. There is simply no sign of the dramatic suppression of the reproduction rate that modellers assumed. Yet government has abrogated its responsibilities to a team of data modellers and epidemiologists who seem to be top-heavy with error-prone alarmists.

Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan and Anti-Fragility, is dismissive of economists and advisors who suffer no harm when the advice they peddle turns out to be wrong. We are in such a time now. Advisors urging extended lockdowns, as if we are living through the Black Plague, will still draw their government-guaranteed salaries at the end of the month, dispensing their wisdom via Zoom. If they were wrong at the start of the lockdown, why should we trust them now?

When the data proves them wrong, they do what self-preservation demands: double down by warning of a second and third spike in infections, lasting perhaps years.

SA is not alone in heeding advice from sources that deserve far more scrutiny than they are getting. UK epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who had Covid-19 himself, had to walk back his original outrageous projections of 500,000 UK Covid-19 deaths, when in fact the virus has claimed less than a tenth of this.

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus czar Dr Anthony Fauci co-wrote a paper in March this year arguing (correctly) that the virus affects predominantly the old and the very sick. He predicted the mortality from Covid would not be significantly out of line with a seasonal flu. “It was remarkable that he predicted this at such an early stage in the spread of the virus,” says Hudson. “But ever since then he has been lapping up every minute of fear-mongering that he can, He’s a panic porn artist.”

Initially, most of the country seemed supportive of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lockdown in the face of a viral attack the likes of which none of us had ever experienced. Yet we hoped it was temporary and the rights we voluntarily suspended – such as the right to work, move around freely, drink wine, smoke cigarettes, gather with friends – would be returned intact within a matter of months.

Now we’re not so sure. History teaches us that rights surrendered are seldom returned unalloyed.

Cabinet ministers and their government advisors who call for an extended lockdown based on erroneous data must be held to account. Their decisions will cause an unprecedented economic contraction of between 9% and 13% this year, but the effects in terms of poverty and declining wellness will linger for years. Blaming this on the virus and not the lockdown is the height of dishonesty.

By the end of June 2020 it was already clear that the infection curve in the Western Cape had peaked and was in decline. The same is now happening in Gauteng.

The type of modelling used in SA and elsewhere in the world is based on a completely erroneous reading of the actual data. It’s not that they lacked sufficient data on which to model their predictions. The Diamond Princess cruise ship presented data analysts with laboratory-type conditions with which to track and monitor the virus. This was a cruise ship sailing around the Pacific with 7,000 passengers, a large percentage of them old. In total, there were 12 deaths, all of them aged over 65. That’s a mortality rate of 0.2% of the ship population (in an environment in which it was difficult for anyone on self-isolate).

That presents an accurate picture of Covid’s spread in a confined environment. Yet senior academics trying to draw attention to the bogus science behind the global lockdown have been shut out of polite media circles, among them Dr Michael Levitt (born in Pretoria) of Stanford University, and Professor John Ioannidis, also of Stanford. Youtube has censored many who have questioned World Health Organisation (WHO) orthodoxy. There are dozens more senior scientists forced to get their message out on fringe podcasts and non-censored platforms. This is the “spirit of the times” in which we live, says Hudson.

Back in 1960 US-Hungarian psychiatrist Professor Thomas Szasz wrote The Myth of Mental Illness, arguing that undesirable behaviour was being medicalised and reclassified as “illness” with no science to back it up. He coined the term the “therapeutic state”. He warned us 60 years ago that the state wants dominion over our bodies and our thoughts., and would force “treatments” on us for the greater social good.

It seemed a long shot back then. Now it seems all too imminent.

Under no circumstances should a lockdown be permitted, says Hudson. “If there is a virus on the loose, people must choose their own risk-mitigation strategies. If you are afraid of the virus, then self-isolate, but you cannot force others to do the same.

“There’s something terribly wrong when you deny ordinary people agency in their own lives and their own health. People should be able to choose to stay at home, but have no right to force you to stay home. We want herd immunity, because that is how all epidemics are conquered.” It appears that the Western Cape is fast reaching that point in precisely the fashion projected by PANDA.

We need to demand our government acts on sound explanations and data. Because when this blows over and South Africans survey the wreckage, they will look for someone to blame.

We can’t pay R5bn sin taxes, says alcohol industry


As the war over the ban on booze sales heats up, the alcohol industry has asked the government to suspend R5bn in sin-tax obligations until it is allowed to trade again.


In a separate development, a scientist on the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) — which advises the minister of health, Zweli Mkhize, on Covid-19 issues — criticised the science used to justify reimposing the sales ban.

And professor Charles Parry, a director at the Medical Research Council (MRC), said he was surprised by the outright ban because the council had recommended only tighter restrictions on sales.

The National Liquor Traders Council, the South African Liquor Brandowners Association, the Beer Association of SA and Vinpro — a non-profit company representing 2,500 wine producers, cellars and industry stakeholders — have written to finance minister Tito Mboweni and the South African Revenue Service (Sars) saying the renewed ban on alcohol sales had left them no choice but to apply for deferment of duties payable for July and August. The organisations represent such companies as South African Breweries, Distell and Diageo.

Liquor industry spokesperson Sibani Mngadi said alcohol excise tax was imposed at the point of production, meaning the industry was liable for excise duties worth R2.5bn in July and another R2.5bn in August on products that are in warehouses and cannot be sold.

“The industry and its entire value chain are facing an enormous financial crisis, and its capacity to make these payments is severely constrained. The sustainability of the sector, now and in the post-Covid era, is dependent on this deferment if job losses are to be avoided,” Mngadi said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the immediate reinstatement of the ban on alcohol sales last Sunday, citing a sharp increase in trauma unit admissions since the ban was lifted on June 1. This had put extra pressure on facilities that were struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The government is already facing a cash crunch due to plunging tax revenues caused by the struggling economy. Tabling his supplementary budget last month, Mboweni said SA would miss its original revenue target by more than R300bn this year.

Mboweni’s spokesperson, Mashudu Masutha, had not responded to questions about the liquor industry’s appeal by the time of going to press.
Estimates show the industry contributed R51bn in indirect taxes in 2019, with just over R33bn in excise duties and R17bn in value added tax (VAT).

The fiscus is also not collecting excise duties on tobacco, since a ban on the sale of these products was imposed when the lockdown was first introduced at the end of March. It is estimated that R4bn in tobacco excise duties has already been lost.

Bernard Mofokeng, tax partner at CMS RM Partners, said Sars was generally reluctant to allow postponement of excise duty and VAT payments because these taxes were susceptible to fraud.

“There is so much fraud in liquor and tobacco products, government is losing billions. It is already undercollecting,” he said.

Mngadi said the liquor industry was aggrieved about not having been consulted over the renewed ban. “We reiterate our commitment to partner with the government to create a social compact that drives behavioural change regarding the use and consumption of alcohol,” he said.

Professor Francois Venter of the Wits University Reproductive Health & HIV Institute, who is a member of the MAC, but not speaking as a MAC member, said traffic accidents were also to blame for trauma admissions.

“Look at admissions to hospitals when lockdown level 4 was in place and alcohol was banned. There were increasing trauma admissions related to vehicle accidents.

“People argue hospital beds are being protected, which is fair, but the unintended consequences need to be taken into account.”

Another member of the MAC, who asked not to be named, said there were major disagreements within the advisory body over the science relied upon to impose the ban.

“The slides we and the rest of the country were shown was half-baked science presented by known prohibitionists,” this person said. “If South Africans knew they would be furious, especially the alcohol industry.”

This council member said politicians were using the MAC to pass legislation based on dubious science. “The ban was definitely political. It points to the police and other law enforcement agencies being unable to police properly, especially around shebeens and drunk driving.”

Parry said the MRC had recommended tighter curbs on hours of sale for alcohol but not an outright ban.

“Our findings called for government to go the lighter route and tighten up on sale days rather than an outright ban because of the pushback that would come from people and the liquor industry,” he said. “It looks like government ran out of time. Honestly speaking, I was surprised by the ban.”

But Parry said it was irrefutable that banning or restricting alcohol sales led to declines in hospital admissions.

“[Research] showed the increase in admissions when the ban was lifted. Some hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal recorded 100% increases. Some Gauteng hospitals had 500% increases. Some Western Cape hospitals experienced a 60% admissions increase.”

He said that before the lockdown there were on average 42,700 trauma admissions a week in SA, across nearly 400 public tertiary hospitals.

“Of the alcohol-related admissions, 38% are violence related, 13% are accidents such as falls, 6% vehicle accidents and 2% self-harm,” Parry said.
“Each of these injuries has a burden on the health-care system. The cost of treating a stab injury in a state hospital is R5,352. To treat a vehicle-accident victim costs over R25,400, where a person spends one day in ICU and five days in a general ward.”

Govt promises to consider input as it seeks comment on lockdown regulations

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an immediate ban of the sale of alcohol and a curfew, forcing South Africans to stay home between 9pm and 4am.


Theto Mahlakoana EWN

The public has been invited to make comments on the recently amended regulations to level three of the lockdown, with government promising to consider their input.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an immediate ban of the sale of alcohol and a curfew, forcing South Africans to stay home between 9pm and 4am.

The government said that the decision to enforce stricter regulations followed the spike in new COVID-19 infections and related deaths.

With many of the existing regulations, including the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products and the non-visitation of family members, are under review in courts across the country. The government has chosen to tread carefully by consulting the public.

Although the comments will only be considered with the laws already enforced, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the decisions were made in the best interests of South Africans.

Government has also defended its decision to criminalise the non-wearing of masks.

On the decision to ban visits among family members, the national COVID-19 command council has explained that this was due to the loophole this created for people to host parties and other platforms that had led to the surge in COVID-19 positive cases in some parts of the country.

Curbs don’t limit freedom, they limit Covid-19: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma



Stringent lockdown measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, including the suspension of liquor sales and the return of a night curfew were being imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said this in a follow-up briefing on Monday.

She said though SA was number 25 in terms of population size in the world, it is now ranked 10th highest in the number of Covid-19 cases.

She said SA ranked higher in terms of the number of new cases per day. “We must do everything to protect this beautiful nation of ours.”

Dlamini-Zuma said the announcement by Ramaphosa on Sunday was to combat the spread of the virus.

She said it was now a criminal offence not to wear a mask in a public place.

“When you wear a mask, you are not protecting only yourself but people about you,” she said.

She said if one did not have a formal mask, one could use a cloth or any material to cover the mouth and nose.

“Now it is mandatory. It is mandatory to wear a face mask because it is one of the measures at our disposal to protect ourselves and to protect people about us.

“The provision in the regulations now says the mandatory wearing of the face mask or any face mask, cloth mask or anything that you can use to cover your mouth and nose while you are in public.”

She said the regulation also says one cannot enter any form of public transport without wearing a mask. She said social distancing still remained important and people should avoid activities that disregarded those responsibilities.

“That is why social activities are still not allowed. So one of the things that we know becomes difficult when people are sitting together and continue to wear masks is also alcohol.”

She said when people are drinking in groups, they let their guard down.

“Their masks will go and social distancing will go. The spread will happen and we have seen it in many instances.”

She said drinking of alcohol socially brought people together and discouraged them from using masks, from social distancing and sanitising.

“More importantly when people have taken liquor, they get drunk, they engage in irresponsible behaviour, some of them become violent, they start fighting, killing each other.

“Even at home they become violent. When they get into their cars, they start driving recklessly, creating accidents.”

She said those people had to be rushed to hospitals, which means they were taking space that should be used to look after people who are ill and people who have Covid.

“Some of them need theatre, ICU beds and ventilators and taking away from those who are ill and who need it from Covid-19.”

Alcohol-related emergency cases diverted the services of medical personnel who should be in ICU looking after people with Covid-19.

“What happens then is the ICU gets full, beds in hospital get full and people who need those beds will not have access to them. It is for that reason that the cabinet has decided we need to suspend the sale of alcohol transportation and dispensing of alcohol,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Dlamini-Zuma said the government was not limiting people’s rights.

“The government is trying to limit the spread of the virus because the spread happens through the movement of people. The virus is moved by people. It is spread by people. It is me who moves it. It is you who will move it. Part of limiting the movement is part of limiting the spread of virus,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

She said it was for that reason that the curfew was brought back from 9pm to 4am. Interprovincial travel is not allowed, except for funerals, work and business travel.