“Irrational” was one word used by Judge Norman Davis of the North Gauteng High Court to describe the measures implemented to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
Another was unconstitutional.
The ruling on Tuesday came after Liberty Fighters Network went to court to apply to have the Disaster Management Act regulations declared unlawful and invalid.
And the judge agreed.
Ripping level 3 and 4 of the lockdown regulations to shreds, he said: “To put it bluntly, it can hardly be argued that it is rational to allow scores of people to run on the promenade, but were one to step a foot on a beach, it will lead to rampant infection.”
He added that “a whole community might have limited contact with one another... but are now forced to congregate in huge numbers, sometimes for days, to obtain food which they would otherwise have prepared or acquired for themselves”.
He also scratched his head at rules allowing people to buy a jersey but not open-toed shoes.
Let’s face it, how many times have we looked at the rules and thought: “but that doesn’t make any sense”?
Kids can go to school with hundreds of other learners, worshippers can go to church with 49 others, people can go to work, commuters can get into a bus or taxi with 10 others.
You can go shopping wherever and whenever you like, but you can’t go for a haircut.
You can buy dop and suip at home, but just don’t smoke!
The court has given Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 14 days to review and republish the regulations.
It’s a massive blow to the credibility of government’s fight against Covid-19.
Not long ago, the whole nation had stood behind President Cyril Ramaphosa when he had initially called the lockdown.
He was on a mission to save lives - and his ultra-cautious approach could very well have prevented thousands of deaths.
The national death toll is only around 800 to date and that is a remarkable achievement.
Yet, for all government’s good intentions - and Munier genuinely believes our leaders have South Africans’ best interests at heart - a lot of mistakes have been made.
The question is: do we dismiss all of governments’ efforts during this crisis, and embark on a mass civil disobedience campaign?
No! That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
It’s easy to point fingers and criticise while our leaders grapple with a crisis the likes of which this country - and the world - has never seen before.
It’s easy to forget that this is uncharted territory and there are very few “right answers”.
Who would want to be in Ramaphosa’s shoes right now? John Steenhuisen would. But even the DA’s “strategy” has been an ambiguous fiasco.
The opposition party’s answer to government’s lockdown was a “smart lockdown”.
Then a month later they dropped the idea in favour of a complete lifting of the lockdown. Remember?
And who can forget the Strandfontein “concentration camp” for 1500 homeless people?
Two weeks after opening and the City of Cape Town pulled the plug on that humanitarian disaster, quietly scampering away, tail between their legs.
Only 1500 people... but the DA thinks they can look after 60 million? Good luck to them.
It’s not easy, is it? And like it or not, we all need to work together - with government - to overcome this crisis.
There’s no alternative right now. We must stand by them. But for government to retain our support, they need to admit to their mistakes, listen to their citizens and make the right decisions.
Starting with Judge Davis’ order to fix the regulations!