Replacing the state of disaster with new regulations by the Department of Health, published in the Government Gazette on the 15th of March with the supposed aim of managing any pandemics in the future, is no more than a transfer of political power.
Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the state of disaster will be lifted at midnight (4 April 2022).
It merely means that the government will no longer regulate the Covid-19 pandemic through the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), but through the Minister of Health in terms of the National Health Act.
Its attempt to amend the National Health Act with new regulations means that the government can simply continue to impose limiting economic restrictions.
The proposed regulations are clearly not well thought out and the government has apparently learnt no lessons from the previous restrictions in terms of the state of disaster.
In terms of the proposed regulations, the Minister of Health has the power to, at any time and without parliamentary oversight, announce further regulations. The FF Plus warned against this in the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health in October 2020 already.
It is unacceptable that the government is still clinging to senseless and restrictive regulations, which have already caused the country so much damage.
The Level 5 restrictions were initially imposed to help the country's public health care system prepare for the impact of the pandemic, but to this day it is still not adequately prepared for effectively handling any pandemic.
The current wave of problems that has swept through state hospitals lately serves as clear proof.
The low occupancy of hospital beds due to Covid-19 cases and the recovery rate of 97% suggest that any further regulations will only harm South Africa.
The FF Plus will do everything in its power to oppose any further restrictive regulations.
The party also encourages the public, medical professionals and scientists to lodge their objections against the proposed health regulations with the Department of Health before the 15th of April at: firstname.lastname@example.org