Has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of South Africa’s constitutional democracy?Posted: 23 July, 2020 Filed under: Paul Mudau | Tags: apartheid-era, Bill of Rights, Collins Khoza, constitutional democracy, coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 pandemic, Cyril Ramaphosa, democracy, Disaster Management Act, extraordinary legal measures, Gary Pienaar, isolation measures, lockdown, lockdown regulations, National Disaster Management Centre, nationwide lockdown, pandemic, PCCC, South Africa, state of emergency, Table of Non-Derogable Rights 3 Comments
Author: Paul Mudau
PhD Candidate and Researcher, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand
On 15 March 2020, and while owing to medical and scientific advice and with the aim of controlling and managing the invasion and the spread of the invisible enemy, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa introduced extraordinary legal measures, placed the country under a nationwide lockdown and sealed its international borders. The lockdown took effect from 27 March 2020. The President simultaneously declared a national state of disaster in terms of section 27 of the Disaster Management Act (52 of 2002). Apart from the 1996 Constitution, the Disaster Management Act is applicable during lockdown together with other relevant statutes such as the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 and Prevention of Combating and Torture of Persons Act 13 of 2013. This, was followed by a series of announcements and impositions of numerous lockdown Regulations and Directives that require hygienic practices, physical and social distancing, quarantine, and isolation measures.
A dark cloud or the promise of rain: Section 25 and the fate of land restitution in South AfricaPosted: 15 July, 2020 Filed under: Ross Booth | Tags: 1913 Land Act, amendment to section 25, ANC, costly lawsuits, COVID-19, expropriation of land without compensation, inequality in land ownership, Joint Constitutional Review Committee, Joint CRC, land, Land reform, land reformation, land restitution, lockdown, property, property ownership, Section 25, South Africa Leave a comment
Author: Ross Booth
Third year LLB student, University of KwaZulu-Natal
In recent years, there have been growing calls for land reformation and a fairer distribution of property in South Africa. Many have called for what is known as the expropriation of land without compensation, while others view this as an extremely dangerous and radical procedure. Despite the differences of opinion, we are currently observing what could become one of the most significant changes to land reform in the history of SA’s democracy. Seemingly given the backseat in light of our current struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, an amendment to section 25 of our Constitution is on the cards and could result in a variety of changes to the current state of land restitution.
As it stands, section 25 is a far-reaching provision of the Constitution that deals with security of tenure, property rights, and restitution for those previously discriminated against under colonial and Apartheid land practices. Section 25(1) begins by offering some assurance to property owners by stating:
“No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.”
Enforcement of lockdown regulations and law enforcement brutality in Nigeria and South AfricaPosted: 23 June, 2020 Filed under: Folasade Abiodun, Mary Izobo | Tags: accountability mechanisms, apartheid, coronavirus, COVID-19, enforcement officials, human rights violations, lawlessness, lockdown, lockdown regulations, medical facilities, Nigeria, pandemic, public health, public health interest, right to freedom of assembly, South Africa, use of force 1 Comment
Author: Mary Izobo and Folasade Abiodun
(An earlier version of this article was published by Daily Maverick)
Since January 2020, COVID-19 pandemic, has held the world to ransom and has posed a threat to public health. It has put a lot of pressure on available medical facilities with a record of more than 9 million persons infected and more than 470 000 deaths globally with numbers set to increase. In order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, several countries are taking measures such as the closure of airports, seaports and land borders, isolation and quarantining of persons, banning of religious, sporting and social gatherings, closure of schools and universities, restaurants, public spaces and complete or partial ‘lockdown’ of some countries. The lockdown of countries entails complete restriction of movement as the virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected persons or surfaces. Some of these measures as well as their enforcement , have implications on the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of association and the right to freedom of assembly.
The impact of technology on mental health during COVID-19Posted: 22 May, 2020 Filed under: Foromo Frederic Loua, Johnson Mayamba, Mustapha Dumbuya | Tags: access to internet, anger, anxiety, costs of data, COVID-19, depressing information, depression, economic meltdown, face masks, information overload, insomnia, lockdown, movement restrictions, pandemic, South Africa, South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), stress, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Zoom Leave a comment
Authors: Mustapha Dumbuya, Johnson Mayamba & Foromo Frédéric Loua
As the world continues to battle the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which by 14 May 2020 had recorded more than 4 million confirmed cases globally and claiming more than 300,000 lives. One can be tempted to say that the fight might still be far from ending. Even as researchers work tooth and nail to find a vaccine, with Madagascar claiming to have found a herbal cure, some have described such efforts as more of a marathon than a sprint. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that people may have to learn how to live with Covid-19 because it ‘may never go away.’
When the cases were fast-rising, governments around the world adopted various measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. On 26 March 2020, South Africa went into a 21-day total nationwide lockdown amid increasing cases of the pandemic. Other measures announced included wearing face masks and other forms of movement restrictions. The lockdown was later extended but it has since been eased since the beginning of May 2020 to ameliorate economic meltdown not only in South Africa but globally.
Apart from having a disastrous impact on economies, these measures come with a plethora of other challenges. The current social distancing policies have had a major impact on people’s lives and wellbeing, especially for those living alone or away from family and loved ones. COVID-19 related social and physical distancing could lead to a feeling of increased loneliness and depression.
COVID-19: How more access to the internet can reduce existing barriers for women’s rights in AfricaPosted: 4 May, 2020 Filed under: Nelly Warega, Tomiwa Ilori | Tags: Access to Information, access to information online, Africa, civil society organisations, coronavirus, COVID-19, CSOs, digital platforms, digital skills, domestic violence, health services, inequalities, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, internet access, Kenya, Lagos State Government Health Service Commission, lockdown, mainstream media, maternal health, maternal mortality, Mozambique, Nigeria, pandemic, PPE, PPEs, smart phones, South Africa, Uganda, women's rights Leave a comment
Authors: Nelly Warega* and Tomiwa Ilori**
*Legal Advisor, Women’s Link Worldwide
**Doctoral researcher, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
On 17 April 2020, a Twitter user tweeted about a hospital in Lagos that demanded personal protective equipment (PPE) from a woman seeking to give birth at the facility. The incident, according to the user happened at the General Hospital, Ikorodu, under the Lagos State Government Health Service Commission. The PPEs have become important for health workers given the surge in transmission COVID-19 across the world. However, despite the rising demand and scarcity of PPEs, a conversation on the propriety of placing the burden of procurement of PPEs on expectant mothers is vital.
A call to action: Protecting women’s rights in Sub-Saharan Africa during COVID-19 pandemicPosted: 20 April, 2020 Filed under: Juliet Nyamao | Tags: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, coronavirus, Cote d'Ivoire, COVID-19 outbreak, equality, gender-based violence, Ghana, human rights, informal employment, International Health Regulations (2005), international obligations, John Hopkins University Corona Virus Resource Center, Kenya, pneumonia, protection of human rights, public health emergency, rule of law, Senegal, South Africa, stringent policies, tax relief measures, unemployment funds, WHO Regional Office for Africa Report, women, women's rights, World Health Organization, Wuhan City Leave a comment
Author: Juliet Nyamao
Human Rights Attorney, Kenyan Bar
On 31 December 2019, The World Health Organisation (WHO) was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. One week later, on 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a novel coronavirus as the cause of the pneumonia. Following this discovery, China witnessed unprecedented increase in morbidity and mortality rates of victims of the virus. Ultimately, the Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international attention under the International Health Regulations (2005), following recommendations from the members and advisers to International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee for Pneumonia. Although measures were taken to halt international travel the virus had already spread to other regions of the world including Africa. According to the John Hopkins University Corona Virus Resource Center, the pandemic has had devastating effects in Europe, Asia and the Americas with mortality rate of more than 100,000 people, with a total of more than 1.7 million confirmed cases worldwide.
COVID-19 and the access to information conundrum in AfricaPosted: 10 April, 2020 Filed under: Hlengiwe Dube | Tags: Access to Information, barriers, corona virus, COVID-19, data costs, Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, digital divide, disabilities, flatten the curve, girls, indigenous communities, information accessibility, internet, internet access, internet taxation, lockdowns, Model Law on Access to Inofmration in Africa, nationwide crisis management, older persons, Open Government Partnership, pandemic, PWD, right to health, South Africa, women, Zimbabwe 1 Comment
Author: Hlengiwe Dube
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
As the world grapples with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the novel Corona-virus, Africa has not been spared. Although the rate of infection is still lower than the rest of the world, it is rising steadily. Governments across the world have initiated partial or nationwide crisis management measures including curfews, lockdowns, contact tracing, surveillance and testing to curb the spread of the virus, which has been coined as measures to ‘flatten the curve’. For these government-initiated emergency measures to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus, the public must comply with the government regulations. Access to information becomes very essential for the realisation of this objective and by extension other equally essential goals such as achieving the human right to health.
Apartheid, gender and property relations in South Africa: Some reflections from Rahube v Rahube & OthersPosted: 20 August, 2018 Filed under: Kennedy Kariseb, Nimrod Muhumuza | Tags: apartheid-era laws, black women, customary law, Group Areas Act, Land reform, ownership, post-apartheid, property ownership, Rahube judgment, Rahube v Rahube & Others, South Africa Leave a comment
Authors: Kennedy Kariseb & Nimrod Muhumuza
|Kennedy Kariseb||Nimrod Muhumuza|
Land reform is a litmus test for how far post-apartheid democratic South Africa is willing to go to redress its abhorrent racist and sexist history. There have been several attempts to reconcile colonial and apartheid-era laws with their concomitant rights and obligations in the new democratic dispensation, epitomised by the transformative 1996 Constitution. The latest proposal is to expropriate land without compensation which is currently undergoing public consultation. However, scant attention has been paid to the gendered land relations that have excluded women from owning land in their own name.
The recent judgment of Kollapen J in Rahube v Rahube & Others, is one such case that indicates the difficulty of reconciling the impact of a skewed racial, gendered history in a new democratic dispensation premised in a supposedly transformative constitutional regime. The Rahube judgment is another (rather unfortunate) reminder of the subordinate position that women occupy in South Africa, as in most parts of Africa, reminding us that inasmuch as land and property relations in South Africa were racially anchored, they were, (and still are) thoroughly gendered. This is because for the most part, colonial and apartheid laws and practices limited, and at worst excluded women from accessing and controlling resources such as property, including land.