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01 April 2020 Legal News Watch

South Africa

Ramaphosa steps up virus battle

As the strong-arms tactics of the police and the army came into sharp focus yesterday (see separate reports below), including in one instance a home invasion, President Cyril Ramaphosa last night ramped up the fight against Covid-19, announcing 10 000 ... Read More

President reacts to 'iron fist' reports

Given a growing number of reports of the ‘iron fist’ response of law enforcement authorities to the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated that the roles of the police and army are to provide support and reassurance to the nation, not ... Read More

Business, finance sectors take up battle

The business and finance sectors have moved to up their response to the crisis, essentially to ensure money flows to counter the adverse effects on the economy of the lockdown and the Moody’s downgrade, notes Legalbrief. Business organisations have written ... Read More

Policy Watch

Legislation: Covid-19 tax relief measures explained

National Treasury has issued explanatory notes on tax measures announced last weekend by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in support of enterprises affected by the Covid-19 national state of disaster and lockdown, reports Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch. This is ... Read More

Finance: Temporary capital relief for banks imminent

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has announced its intention to provide temporary capital relief to banks with the aim of alleviating risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. To that end, comment is sought by the end of the week ... Read More

Finance: Temporary retail loan restructuring imminent

The SARB intends issuing a directive on factors to be considered when restructuring retail loans following exposure to risk directly associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch. This is noting that retail loans include lending to ... Read More

Social services: Covid-19 lockdown measures gazetted

Temporary relaxations to Covid-19 lockdown public passenger transport measures in place since last Friday were gazetted yesterday, giving legal effect to announcements made during the weekend with the aim of facilitating access to social grant payment points, reports Pam Saxby ... Read More

Legislation: New emission standards a compromise

Amendments to the minimum standards to be observed by combustion installations in respect of sulphur dioxide (SO₂) emissions were gazetted last Friday and are immediately effective, notes Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch. According to yesterday’s media statement on the new regulations, they ... Read More

In Court

Car dealer liable for pavement injury damages

A Cape Town businessman has successfully proven causal negligence on the part of a car dealership after he was injured when he tripped and fell as a result of its cars being parked on a pavement. TimesLIVE reports that Leonard ... Read More

Accused no-show linked to Covid-19 restrictions

A lawyer for former teacher and Media24 employee Willem Breytenbach explained that his client did not appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court yesterday because of an arrangement his legal team made with the court where he faces sexual ... Read More

Today's Analyses

Rule of law must not be a casualty

What happens to the rule of law in a time of crisis? While individual rights are important, life is a paramount individual right. ‘Keeping us alive is the most important function of government. We are mostly prepared to lose some ... Read More

Physician assisted suicide laws should be altered

The decision of the German Constitutional Court in February on the question of euthanasia ‘has thrown our more conservative jurisprudence into sharp relief’. The judgment, notes the Serjeant at the Bar columnist, ‘stands in stark contrast to the approach adopted ... Read More

A Matter of Justice

Uganda's 'repressive' policing law slammed

One of Uganda's most contentious laws has come under fire by that country's Constitutional Court. A particularly repressive section giving the police power to prohibit all public gatherings and protest has been declared unconstitutional and the court's ... Read More


Africa counts the cost

The UN Development Programme yesterday warned that nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost and income losses are expected to exceed $220bn in developing countries. Addressing the expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it said the international ... Read More

Key ‘Fishrot’ suspect off the hook

The CEO of Samherji, the Icelandic seafood company implicated in Namibia’s Fishrot corruption scandal, has returned to work. In a media statement, the company confirmed that Thorsteinn Baldvinsson stepped down in November, just days after news of the scandal broke ... Read More

Date set for Uganda magistrate assault case

The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court in Kampala will on 3 April rule on whether to dismiss the case in which six people are accused of attacking a Kampala magistrate. Simon Wanyera, Abdullah Waiswa, Augustine Ojobile, Joel Kabali, Fatuma ... Read More


Alex Salmond's QC refers himself to legal watchdog

Alex Salmond’s QC has referred himself to a legal watchdog and apologised for causing ‘distress’ after being recorded on a train calling the former Scottish First Minister a ‘nasty person to work for’. According to a report in The Daily ... Read More

UK's criminal justice system imploding, lawyers warn

The criminal justice system in the UK is going into ‘meltdown’ because of coronavirus and a huge backlog of cases caused by government cuts, lawyers have said. According to a report in The Independent, thousands of hearings have been delayed ... Read More

UK unit scrambles to quash fake news

Downing Street’s anti-fake news unit is dealing with up to 10 cases of misinformation about coronavirus a day as it emerged some articles are getting more views than all of those posted by the NHS put together. A report in ... Read More