Volume: Volume 25 - 2021
Article type: Refereed article
Author/s: Ntokozo Sobikwa and Moses Retselisitsoe Phooko
The purpose of this article is to critically assess the constitutionality of the COVID-19 regulations against the backdrop of the constitutional mandate to facilitate public participation in the law-making process in South Africa. This assessment is conducted by outlining the scope and content of public participation. This will be followed by an exposition of the legal framework that provides for the duty to facilitate public participation in South Africa. Thereafter, the scope and content of the duty to facilitate public participation is assessed against the conduct of the government in promulgating the COVID-19 regulations.
The authors argue that the disregard for and limited nature of public participation during the process leading up to the enactment of the COVID-19 regulations amount to a material subversion of the core tenets of our constitutional democracy and largely renders the COVID-19 regulations unconstitutional for lack of procedural compliance with the demands of the Constitution. The authors provide a few recommendations to remedy the unconstitutionality of the regulations and further propose guidelines to facilitate public participation in cases of future pandemics and/or disasters of this nature.