President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa has active civil society ever ready to safeguard the fundamental freedoms and rights of citizens enshrined in the constitution as evidenced by a number of people who have exercised their right to approach the courts.
“There have been legal challenges from a number of individuals, religious bodies, political parties, NGOs and from business organizations against one measure or more of the lockdown provisions they were unhappy with,” he said.
Ramaphosa also adds that although government would prefer to avoid the need for any legal action, citizens who are unhappy with whatever action that government has decided on implementing have a right to approach the courts for any relief they seek.
“One of the triumphs of our democracy is that every South African believes the Constitution protects them and that the courts are fair and impartial arbiter of their interests,” said Ramaphosa.
President Ramaphosa says there has been robust and strident critique of a number of aspects of the national response to Coronavirus and government has neither called for such critique to be tempered or for it to be silenced.
“To the contrary, criticism, where it is constructive, helps us to adapt and to move with agility in response to changing circumstances and conditions,” he said.
Ramaphosa reiterates that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to place an enormous strain on the society and institutions even as the government gradually open up the economy.