S.African govt to appeal ruling declaring some COVID-19 measures invalid

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The South African government will appeal a court ruling that declared some of its coronavirus lockdown regulations invalid, a senior official said on Thursday after a cabinet meeting.

A high court ruled earlier this week that some of the rules governing levels three and four of the country’s five-level coronavirus lockdown were “unconstitutional and invalid”.

It said they should be reviewed and amended, giving consideration to their impact on individual rights, but suspended its order for 14 days, which means the rules remain in place for now.

“We are of the view that another court might come to a different conclusion on the matter,” Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told a news conference, reading a cabinet statement. “Cabinet has therefore decided to appeal the North Gauteng High Court decision.”

Mthembu said the government would ask for its appeal to be heard on an urgent basis.

He added that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet had also approved an extension of a national state of disaster for a further month until July 15.

South Africa introduced one of the world’s most restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns in March – including a ban on alcohol and cigarette sales – but has gradually eased restrictions down to the third of five levels.

Ramaphosa and his government initially enjoyed broad support for their decisions but after weeks of serious damage to an already shrinking economy, criticism has started to grow.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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