Calling for Public involvement in COVID-!9 regulations and Power Checks and Balances

Calling for Public involvement in COVID-!9 regulations and Power Checks and Balances

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Safia Isaacs started this petition to South African Government

The COVID-19 rules and regulations that govern every single South African has lacked meaningful public involvement. People must feel that they are involved. There was much support for Government and the steps taken on behalf of all living in South Africa with Level 5 of the lockdown. Perhaps people understood that drastic measures were required whether we believed some of the regulations to be reasonable or not. I certainly went with it no matter how hard I experienced the no dog walking regulation, which made my rescue (who refuses to do her business in the vicinity of home) incredibly ill and resulted in a stressful trip to the vet!

During Level 5 of lockdown that lasted about 5 weeks, many petitions were started and supported on a range of COVID-19 regulations. In my view these petitions are submissions and a call from the public to be involved in the rules and regulations that govern our lives during this critical time in South Africa. Submissions from the public for comment on Level 4 of the lockdown to Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (COGTA) opened on 25 April and closed at 12h00 on April 27. By the time the public became aware that submissions were being called for - the deadline for submissions had come and gone.

Whether I agree with the ban on alcohol, cigarettes, designated exercise times, etc. or not - I will defend the right of the public to be given reasonable opportunities to make submissions and have their voices heard on the rules and regulations imposed on their lives and curtailing choices. The voice of broad-based Non-Government Organisations, Community Based Organisations and civil society movements is critical during these times. And so is the voice of citizens, whether they belong to organisations or not. The contradictory statements by Ministers and senior officials in government concerning the opening of schools and other matters do not incur confidence - it is extremely unsettling.

Separation of powers between Government, the Legislature and the Judiciary is a crucial principle of South Africa’s Constitution and our constitutional, representative and participatory democracy. This system of checks and balances ensures that power is not vested in one single body of state. Checks and balances are needed lest we descend into a society based on draconian law. Reasonable opportunities must be made available for the public to have their voices heard and to actively participate in laws that impact society. We need to be part of measures of accountability and oversight over Government. We need feedback and evidence that our views have been taken into account. We are all in this together. Every single one of us and our voices matter. Together we can defeat COVID-19 and save lives. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!