History shows that crises are exploited by governments to extend authoritarianism. When that occurs, civil liberties suffer. The peremptory declaration by the KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala that all those who test Covid-19 positive will be forced into government isolation facilities, is a case in point (Mercury, April 20).
Compelling those who have become infected to be placed under state isolation is the equivalent of being detained. In terms of section 35 of the constitution, detainees have rights, one of which is to challenge the lawfulness of that detention – section 35 (2) (d).
Already the extension of the lockdown beyond the 21-day period is in conflict with the constitution which requires the assent of the National Assembly to extend a state of emergency. That did not happen.
So now we have, without any democratic discussion, a provincial mandarin unilaterally suspending provisions of the Bill of Rights and dictating the terms and conditions by which virus victims will be treated. In a previous era that was called baasskap.
What is particularly disquieting about this situation is that it conforms to the eight-point socialist Alinsky plan of how to extend complete lockdown of state control over every aspect of life. Controlling healthcare is the first priority and accords fittingly with the ANC’s long-term national democratic revolution strategy.
Sent into The Post and The Mercury and published, 21 April 2020.