A state of emergency curtailing unions’ right to strike will create a legal quandary
Constitutional rights and civil liberties may be suspended if the last resort is taken to stop the virus outbreak
March 15 is considered an inauspicious day since it was on that day in 44BC that Julius Caesar was assassinated — an act that ended the Roman republic and changed the course of history — after he had been famously warned to “beware the Ides of March”. One hopes that when President Cyril Ramaphosa chose March 15 as the day to declare a state of disaster in SA as a result of the coronavirus pandemic he was not, like the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, preparing us for a disaster that will change the course of our history.
In addition to declaring a state of disaster Ramaphosa left the door open to the possibility of a state of emergency being called should our national effort lag and not flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections. The state of disaster has been given substance by the state putting in place a number of legal instruments, including the disaster management regulations that came into effect on March 18. ..