Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: MDUDUZI NDZINGI
Justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: MDUDUZI NDZINGI

Former Constitutional Court judge Catherine “Kate” O’Regan has been appointed as the Covid-19 designate judge so that people’s personal information and privacy is not comprised in the fight against the pandemic.

O’Regan’s appointment by justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola on Friday comes after the state gazetted amended regulations on Thursday, allowing the director-general of health to direct mobile operators to provide information such as location and movements of any person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

This includes information on people who were in contact with the person. The information may be obtained from March 5 until the national disaster lapses. The information will only be for the health department’s Covid-19 tracing database.

Lamola said while the government is doing all it can to implement measures to fight the spread of Covid-19, O’Regan has an important role to play “to safeguard the privacy and personal information of persons during this process”.

O’Regan is a visiting professor at the University of Oxford and an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town.

She served as a Concourt judge for 15 years from 1994 to 2009. From 2010, she served as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia.

Among other accomplishments, O’Regan has served as president of the IMF administrative tribunal since 2011 and as a member of the World Bank sanctions board since 2012.

She was also the co-chair of the commission of inquiry into inefficiencies in policing in Cape Town’s sprawling Khayelitsha township.

“Justice O’Regan is a highly respected former judge of our Constitutional Court and is known for her unwavering commitment to human rights, social justice and the rule of law,” said Lamola.

“I am grateful to Justice O’Regan for availing herself for this role so as to ensure that while we fight Covid-19, people’s rights to privacy are not compromised.”

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za