The Not Another POPIA White Paper is a collection of the author's lessons learnt over a decade of POPIA. It succinctly answers the questions, "Why do so many POPIA programmes fail? What does ‘fail’ mean? and How can this be avoided?"
This new contribution seeks to provide a weekly analysis of constitutional issues arising from Covid-19 and the responses to it. In this instalment, I consider the judgment in De Beer striking down the lockdown regulations.
Since 1995, South Africans have become accustomed to life under a constitutional democracy. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 is the supreme law and judicial authority vests in independent and impartial courts and tribunals. The rule of law has been a beacon of hope for a populace plagued by corruption and state capture, deepening poverty, rising unemployment and inequality, all of which have been starkly exposed by the Coronavirus.
After NEHAWU drew a blank with the first attempt to challenge a lockdown regulation (see Talking Points Issue 4 available on Juta Press Room) issued under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, Solidarity and Afriforum had another shot. The union and its pressure group counterpart took exception to the decision of the Minister of Tourism to reserve her allocation of financial assistance for small and medium businesses in the tourism sector for those who qualified for relief under the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003.
To date, the Covid-19 onslaught has killed more than a million people and nobody knows how many more deaths will follow. The death toll in South Africa is so far relatively modest. But like elsewhere in the world, efforts to curb the pandemic have caused psychological distress and economic devastation. This is hardly surprising since large sections of the economy have been shut down here for nearly two months. Relaxation had to follow.
The challenges confronting South Africa’s court system prior to the arrival of the novel Corona Virus Covid-19 are well-documented. The system’s immunity was already compromised, so to speak. With the arrival and continued spread of Covid-19 in South Africa, the court system is no longer at risk of being infected; it is infected. This article briefly considers the impact of Covid-19 on access to South African courts.
JUTA commissioned a research project to understand the content needs of legal professionals and tax specialists and how these industries have adopted digital transformation. JUTA partnered with Ask Afrika that conducted the research among 300 legal professionals, tax specialists, academia, and librarians. Most respondents were black between the ages of 30-64, working in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Small and large companies with regard to the number of permanent employees were interviewed with tenure up to 20 years in each prospective profession. The fieldwork was completed between February and May 2020.