Is Minister DZ guilty of Contempt of Court? Judgment ‘finally’ expected on Friday

Over a month ago, on 12 January 2021, LFN President Reyno De Beer argued before Justice Norman Davis in the High Court, Gauteng Division, Pretoria that the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma, was in contempt of the 2 June 2020 Court order when she reintroduced beach closures during mid-December 2020 and even went on to present “Adjusted Level 3” Disaster Management Regulations. According to the Minister she repealed the original Level 3 set of regulations affected by the 2 June 2020 Court order. Finally, this judgment is awaited this coming Friday, 19 February 2021.

Justice Davis received a letter from De Beer on 4 February 2021 requesting the Judge to kindly speed up his judgment which was awaited for 3 weeks by that time, after the matter was originally heard on the urgent roll. The Office of the State Attorney, for the Minister, swiftly reacted to the letter from De Beer and objected to such request asking that De Beer should be reprimanded by Davis J to desist from further communication with his chambers.

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Instead, De Beer responded on 7 February 2021 to the Minister’s objection with a firm but well-worded letter to the Gauteng Division Judge President Mlambo in which De Beer stated that above others that he “has reached a point, not fearing the implications at all, to report to [Mlambo JP], that it is unacceptable that such highly important public matter seems to have to been stalled as if Government’s reaction is awaited and must be satisfied first. Thus it would appear as if the judiciary is “expecting” some form of response from Government’s end to somehow react before the Court is positioned to deliver judgment. If that was indeed the case, and [De Beer] dearly hopes his assessment to be incorrect, the judiciary would resolve to be an executive arm of Government. While Government is always quick to announce its concerns about Courts allegedly interfering with its duties this is, however, not a one-way-street: it is up to the Courts themselves to show that fears that they may have become aligned with the interests of Government, are entirely unfounded.

Needless to say that neither Mlambo JP nor Davis J answered to the content of the terse letter with the former only responding by letter today that judgment in this matter is due on Friday. Irrespective of the outcome in the judgment, LFN will be ready to immediately respond if need be leaving no stone unturned in its journey to challenge the generally accepted COVID-19 narrative. The Supreme Court of Appeal will announce the hearing date in the Minister’s appeal against the 2 June 2020 order any day soon.

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