Is the government’s Covid-19 response undermining the constitution?
The powers and people of the National Command Council may be violating constitutional law, in terms of the Disaster Management Act
During what was has been widely lauded as one of the better presidential Covid-19 crisis speeches, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “[We] have decided to establish a National Command Council (NCC) which will be chaired by the president. This NCC will include, among others, members of the inter-ministerial committee, and will meet three times per week to co-ordinate all aspects of our extraordinary emergency response.”
Despite the scant and confusing details provided to date about the powers and functions of the NCC, it is clear that the body is no paper tiger. It appears to be wielding significant policy-making powers, and dictating the formulation of regulations, but the legal basis on which it is doing so is not apparent. Two primary concerns arise...