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Releasing prisoners, suspension of rights… Minister Lamola puts minds at ease

18 March 2020 9:52 AM
Tags:
Ronald Lamola
Courts
Prisons
State of emergency
Refilwe Moloto
gauteng department of health
Minister of Justice and correctional services
Coronavirus
Lockdown
COVID-19
State of National Disaster

All options are on the table but for now, there’s no need for a lockdown or the release of prisoners, says the Justice Minister.

South Africa is in a State of National Disaster, along with the rest of the Covid-19 ravished world.

The implication is that some of our rights have been suspended for the sake of our society’s health.

Refilwe Moloto interviewed Ronald Lamola, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.

FILE: Justice Minister Ronald Lamola at an inter-ministerial briefing on the coronavirus in Pretoria on 13 March 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

She asked him to explain what a “State of National Disaster” means for us and how it differs from a “State of Emergency” or a full-blown lockdown.

She also enquired about the nation’s severely overcrowded prisons and the danger of an outbreak.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of a state of emergency in the future,” Minister Lamola told TimesLive.

“At some point even, a lockdown may become necessary. We are not there yet. We are putting all options on the table, to use all necessary means. The Department of Justice is drafting regulations if there is a need for a declaration of a state of emergency,” he said.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has already resulted in interesting legal implications.

One example, on Tuesday the Gauteng Department of Health approached the courts to force a mother and daughter into quarantine against their will after testing positive for Covid-19.

It limits the rights of South Africans and global citizens in South Africa… The Department of Transport, Home Affairs and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) is devising means to deal with those who can’t go back to their countries…

Ronald Lamola, Minister - Justice and Correctional Services

A State of National Disaster… limits certain rights of people… rights to movement, the right to freedom of association… emergency procurement… It is far-reaching… and sufficient for us to respond to the situation.

Ronald Lamola, Minister - Justice and Correctional Services

A State of Emergency may not be necessary, because the rules, directives and regulations under the National State of Disaster are enough… it gives us the latitude to restrict movement, gatherings and various things… We will not easily go there [State of Emergency] …

Ronald Lamola, Minister - Justice and Correctional Services

[Releasing people from overcrowded jails] is not on the table at all… We are doing all the hygiene procedures [at prisons] … We are putting in stringent hygiene measures [at courts] …

Ronald Lamola, Minister - Justice and Correctional Services

For more detail, listen to the interview in the audio below.


18 March 2020 9:52 AM
Tags:
Ronald Lamola
Courts
Prisons
State of emergency
Refilwe Moloto
gauteng department of health
Minister of Justice and correctional services
Coronavirus
Lockdown
COVID-19
State of National Disaster

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