Confinement: South African judge finds restrictions unconstitutional

Residents confined to Soweto, South Africa, April 23, 2020. REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

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A judge in the capital Pretoria declared that certain measures adopted in the context of the fight against the coronavirus were contrary to the freedoms guaranteed by the fundamental law.


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South Africa, which has the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the continent ahead of Egypt and Nigeria with 35,000 cases and more than 700 deaths, has adopted very strict measures, including containment , end of March. The health alert level was lowered to three (out of five) earlier this week.

Some of the restrictions imposed on South Africans are not justified by the objective of slowing down or limiting the rate of contamination of the virus, estimates a magistrate of the High Court of Pretoria, which delivered its judgment on June 2. Among the measures that caught his attention were the restrictions on attending funerals or those related to sports.

This court decision does not yet apply. The judge suspended it for fourteen days, until the government could review the problematic measures, amend them and republish them.

Economic blow

These were NGOs which had decided to take legal action to challenge the measures adopted by the government and promulgated by the Minister of Cooperation and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Critics are heard, within the opposition and part of the population who believe that the plan adopted has greatly limited freedom of movement, and dealt a severe blow to the economy.

On the side of the authorities, the response came in the form of a brief press release.
The government takes note of this court decision. He clarified that the rules currently in force remain so for the moment.

► (Re) listen: South Africa: "the response to the coronavirus is disproportionate"

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  • South Africa
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