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Mpumalanga High Court issues ruling related to lockdown restrictions


The Mpumalanga High Court has dismissed an urgent application by a man who wanted to travel to the Eastern Cape to attend the funeral of his grandfather.

It is believed to be the first judgment in respect of the lockdown regulations announced by the government.

The applicant in the matter, Karel van Heerden, asked the court for permission to travel from Mbombela in Mpumalanga to Hofmeyr in the Eastern Cape after his elderly grandfather died in a house fire on Friday.

He had asked the court to exempt him from the restrictions which prohibit travel between provinces for the next 21 days to enable him to support his mother and assist with his grandfather’s funeral

The funeral is expected to take place next week.

Acting Judge Henk Roelofse said that he could not “accede to the relief the applicant seeks because in doing so, I will be authorizing the applicant to break the law under judicial decree, that no court can do”.

"I have extreme sympathy for the applicant but I must uphold the law. Unfortunately, presently, the law prohibits that which the applicant wants to do however urgent and deserving," he said.

"The Act and the final lockdown Regulation applies to everyone within the borders of the Republic. I cannot accede to the relief the applicant seeks because in doing so, I will be authorising the applicant to break the law under judicial decree – that no court can do."

"In addition, no matter how careful and diligent the applicant will conduct himself, not only the applicant but many others may be exposed to unnecessary risk, even death if I grant the applicant the relief he seeks," judge Roelofse said.

Meanwhile, in a separate matter, the Justice Minister, Ronald Lamola, said his Department will oppose the Constitutional Court challenge launched by a Foundation which is against the 21-day lockdown.

“There is a foundation that has taken us to the ConCourt (Constitutional Court) directly, and we are awaiting directives from the ConCourt,” he said.

“The position we have taken is that we will oppose the papers and the application because we have followed the law in this process,” Lamola said in Pretoria. 

Earlier this week a little known organisation, Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, said it would launch the Constitutional Court Challenge on the grounds that the coronavirus poses no “danger to Africans” and South Africa.

(Additional reporting -  African News Agency (ANA)

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