Parliament on High Court’s decision to dismiss Helen Suzman Foundation appeal application
7 December 2020
The Gauteng Division of the High Court has turned down an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation to appeal the 7 October judgment, which dismissed the Foundation's bid to compel Parliament to pass a Covid-19 specific legislation.
The Foundation had contended that the Disaster Management Act (DMA), under which the government is managing the Covid-19 pandemic, was a short-term measure not suited to dealing with Covid-19 and accordingly triggered a duty on the part of the Executive and the Legislature to initiate and pass a Covid-19 specific legislation.
Having closely analysed the DMA, including its specific provisions as well as its overall structure, the Court had found that the DMA was intended for disasters without limitation or restriction of the duration of the disaster.
The court dismissed the Foundation’s Application on the basis that an appeal neither had any reasonable prospects of success nor did the Foundation provide compelling reasons why leave to appeal should be granted.
The Speaker has welcomed the judgment as it augurs well for the doctrine of separation of powers in which courts are not unduly involved in the constitutional powers of Parliament.
The judgment follows the recent dismissal of other appeal applications by AfriForum and the Public Protector last week.
Issued by Moloto Mothapo, Spokesperson, Parliament, 7 December 2020