EFF, DA respond to National Health Act

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it will scrutinise the National Health Act and the pandemic regulations that will be integrated into the act following the termination of the National State of Disaster.

For the first time in 750 days, South Africa is no longer under a State of Disaster after President Cyril Ramaphosa officially terminated the National State of Disaster as of midnight on Monday.

Ramaphosa said the declaration of the National State of Disaster on 15 March 2020 empowered government to take the measures that prevented many more people from becoming severely ill and saved countless lives.

He said going forward, the pandemic will be managed in terms of the National Health Act adding that the draft Health Regulations have been published for public comment.

ALSO READ: State of disaster finally over, but these rules remain

Reacting to Ramaphosa’s announcement during the ‘family meeting’ on Monday night, the EFF said in what has been a ‘long-drawn-out series of unscientific, irrational and inconsistent application of lockdown regulations Ramaphosa has finally come to the realisation that the ad-hoc power provisioned by a pandemic, cannot be sustained forever.’

The red berets said the pandemic ‘exposed an incompetent government which is committed to corruption, even in the face of death.’

“We must ensure this government does not smuggle regulations into law, which will give them power to micro-manage the political terrain and enhance their ability to conduct illegal and corrupt procurement.”

The EFF said the primary goal now should be a concerted effort to build a new economy, that will not be based on neo-liberal policy perspectives.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has objected to the proposed new Health Regulations.

The party has written an open letter to Health Minister Joe Phaahla expressing its dissatisfaction about the draft regulation to the National Health Act relating to the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions were published in the Government Gazette for public comment.

DA Shadow Minister of Health Michele Clarke raised concerns about the draft regulations.

“These regulations will ultimately force South Africans to have compulsory medical examinations, tests, and treatment for certain Notifiable Medical Conditions (“NMC”) in the event they test positive, or merely are suspected of testing positive, for a NMC (which would include Covid-19).”

“These regulations give you, as the Minister, unchecked power to instill lockdowns and restrictions without the requirement of receiving advice from the experts. The regulations stipulate strict requirements for a self-isolation site/home, many of which are simply not an option for the ordinary South African,” wrote Clarke.

Clarke said the National State of Disaster has reached a point where regulations and restrictions are unreasonable and irrational, as the threat and veracity of Covid-19 has substantially declined with the newer variants.

“It does not pose a threat to the state of health in the country as it once did in 2020. These regulations are not informed by the latest scientific evidence or expert opinions of various experts both here in South Africa and abroad.”

Ramaphosa said certain transitional provisions will remain in place for a period of 30 days after the termination of the National State of Disaster.

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