Health Minister faulted for changing law through press statement

Law experts have faulted Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda for changing the Coronavirus Prevention Rules through a press statement, saying she should have gazetted the variation.

Dean of Law at Chancellor College Sunduzwayo Madise and Dean of Law at University of Cape Town in South Africa Danwood Chirwa criticized the minister over her statement made yesterday.

Last week, Chiponda gazetted Coronavirus Prevention Rules which included a limit of 10 people in public gatherings. Religious leaders then went guns blazing against the rule calling it an attack on churches. They also vowed not to obey the limit.

On Thursday, Chiponda in a statement read at a press conference increased the limit on public gatherings from 10 to 100. She said this followed consultations with faith groups.

In a Facebook post today, Madise advised the minister to gazette the variation or risk undermining all the regulations.

“You do not vary or suspend operation of law via a press conference or statement. You need to gazette the variation or suspension order. Otherwise you run the risk of undermining the whole law,” he said.

Commenting on the post, Chirwa said there is no implementation button for laws which can be switched on and off.

“I’m also not sure anyone can suspend or vary laws that are in force, except via a due process of law making, i.e. via Parliament, or in the case of regulations, subsidiary law making process. The only other way is by challenging the relevant law via the courts,” he said.

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