Rush to draft state of emergency regulations
Publish date: 11 December 2017
Issue Number: 4367
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Emergency regulations are being drafted for the first time since the advent of democracy, according to Rapport. The newspaper claims to have seen the draft regulations, emanating from the Presidency, in terms of the State of Emergency Act of 1997. The draft, accompanied by an explanatory memorandum stating the process was started last year, was recently sent to the SA National Defence Force for its urgent input. The SANDF reportedly endorsed the draft. Siphiwe Dlamini, spokesperson of the SANDF, says they did not draft the regulations. In terms of the regulations, security officers would have the authority to cut all communication channels, including Internet access, and search, detain or arrest any person that authorities might deem necessary in order to maintain peace, law and order. Jacob van Garderen, national director of Lawyers for Human Rights, was given the draft and commented that it was reminiscent of the conduct experienced in the 1980s. He says the regulations are exceptionally vague and give wide powers to security cluster officials. ‘If these regulations are passed, I foresee a court battle,’ he noted. Advocate André Gaum, commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, says there are still constitutionally embedded guarantees to protect human rights during a state of emergency. It includes a provision that the High Court may set aside a state of emergency proclaimed by the President.