Three weeks ago, LFN President Reyno De Beer argued in the High Court that the compulsory wearing of masks was unconstitutional and invalid. While the judgement is still awaited, in a statement released on Wednesday, 13 January 2021, the Minister of Police, Mr. Bheki Cele, reported that since 29 December 2020 a total of 7455 people were arrested for not wearing masks in public.
The debacle over Mpumalanga Premier, Ms. Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, for not wearing a mask at the funeral of Jackson Mthembu emphasises that even politicians may find mask wearing a nuisance and that it has got nothing to do with “saving lives”. Sadly, the diligent wearing of a mask by the belated Minister Mthembu who, of course, tried to set an example to the public, could not safe his own life either.
LFN cannot help but ask the obvious question, namely whether the compulsory wearing of his face mask could possibly have contributed to the Minister’s death; seeing that available research indicates that the majority of reported COVID-19 deaths were people who always or regularly wore their masks – comparing to only some cases where mask wearing was a seldom occurrence or were not worn at all. Could mask wearing in fact be the root course of these cases, as some suggest?
In the absence of Government urgently conducting independent and conclusive research about this concern, LFN says that no one can be forced to wear a mask unless prescribed by a registered health practitioner. The infamous DMA Regulations do not even give the people an option to choose, same being at odds not only with the law of the country but also with plain logic: not even our Government’s COVID-19 “go-to-authority”, the WHO, recommends the wearing of masks by healthy people in public for as long sufficient ventilation and a physical distance of just 1 (one!) meter can be maintained.
On Friday, 29 January 2021, two of LFN’s members were arrested by the Tshwane Metropolitan Police at Church Square, Pretoria, for their alleged failure to wear a mask in public while both were attending a peaceful demonstration with others against the continued closure of churches and other places of worship. This closure ban was subsequently lifted this past Tuesday. On their first appearance in the Magistrates Court Pretoria Central on Monday, 1 February 2021, the prosecutor, as expected, withdrew the charges against our members.
“In several cases since 29 December 2020 of mask arrests directly reported to LFN, none of those cases did proceed once our 2 June 2020 Court Order was relied on”, says De Beer. It is a well-established principle in our criminal law that the State must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a person intentionally broke the law which carries a criminal penalty. For as long as the constitutionality and invalidity of the 29 April 2020 set of DMA Regulations (which includes all subsequent amendments) is still pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal in our matter, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will find it legally impossible to successfully prosecute transgressions of any of these DMA – “Reichstag” regulations. And no. That is not an incorrect reference.
In previous court submissions, LFN and De Beer substantively referenced the similarities between the occurrence and implementation of our current DMA regulations to the Nazi’s so-called “Enabling Act” which permitted Hitler & Co to quickly bring the Germans under the rule of their Swastika in 1933. Since that very affidavit by LFN has for some reason not been rebutted, it must be regarded as legally correct. Even more so, since history actually tells us that then, and with immediate effect, the Germans had lost their freedoms of speech, of movement, of expression and their free press. If that doesn’t sound familiar enough, perhaps the title of the Act may assist: “Law to Remedy the Distress of the People…” Its actual purpose had, of course been something else: namely to bypass parliament and to override their Republic’s constitution.
If Hitler would have thought it useful for his own purposes to order the Germans to wear masks, he would surely have done so. Perhaps, the Fuhrer felt that the lack of oxygen might hinder their marching ability, who knows. Since our current Government clearly does not want us to march anywhere soon, a little less oxygen might not do too much harm, they might have thought, at best.
Yet: the opposite is correct. If Cele had actually bothered to read and understand the WHO Guidelines on Mask Wearing dated 1 December 2020 (on which Minister Dlamini-Zuma relied in her evidence before Court three weeks ago) he would have realised that his claim that mask wearing is required to “protect both oneself and others” is far from reality. That very piece of evidence specifically recommends that symptomatic (meaning: possibly ill from COVID-19) people should consider wearing a mask, and all others only under certain conditions, and generally on the basis of their own free will. It is not prescribed by WHO to be mandatory at all and thus should require a decision from each person, based on own medical advice sourced or received. On a side note: unsurprisingly, the term “social distancing” is not to be found in the WHO document, either.
While government might be free to make WHO recommendations mandatory within the jurisdiction of South Africa, this is a far cry from making things up as they go along, invent some propaganda to justify their idiocy and to then claim that WHO would have said so. As they do.
LFN cannot but find this childish in the extreme. To ameliorate the nonsense brought about by ill-informed officials (and to keep our courts functioning), we hereby offer all those who were arrested for not wearing a mask and who have actually been charged and who have not paid an admission of guilt fine and who must still appear before court a PDF copy of our judgment of 2 June 2020; kindly email your charge sheet to email@example.com, LFN will return a copy of the judgment to you.
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