DA claims victory after government drops e-commerce restrictions
The ban on e-commerce was one of three lockdown restrictions that the Democratic Alliance (DA) set out to challenge in court.
If you haven’t heard by now, restrictions on e-commerce during lockdown have been dropped. The Democratic Alliance (DA) is thrilled and has since taken the news as a “moral victory”. After all, it was one of the things the DA set out to challenge in court.
DA member of Parliament Dean Macpherson said: “This moral victory for the country on e-commerce is testament to the powerful voice of South Africans and the DA in unison to regain sensibility during this lockdown crisis which has now inflicted pain and suffering on many more people than it should have.”
GOVERNMENT RELAXES E-COMMERCE RESTRICTIONS
The Department of Trade and Industry, on Thursday 14 May, announced that online retail restrictions would be dropped. Online purchases and e-commerce are back but there’s a catch; alcohol and cigarettes are still forbidden.
In other words, order what you like but don’t think of ordering alcohol or cigarettes because it won’t be available anyway.
As per the government gazette, strict regulations will remain in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which means social distancing while accepting deliveries must still be adhered to. One still needs to wear a mask and goods that are delivered are still encouraged to be disinfected once received.
The DA, on the same day the e-commerce restrictions were dropped, said it would be challenging three things in court regarding lockdown restrictions, one of them being the e-commerce ban.
DA TO CHALLENGE LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS
DA Leader John Steenhuisen, on Thursday 14 May, said the party would challenge the constitutionality of lockdown regulations in court.
Steenhuisen’s argument is that some of the lockdown measures are unnecessary and an infringement on the rights of many South Africans. Steenhuisen said that if the government was unable to orchestrate an exit from the nationwide lockdown, the DA would handle it for them.
“One by one we will fight and overturn every decision and every regulation that is either irrational or immoral until we have done what the president could not do – end the hard lockdown,” he said
Steenhuisen said the DA’s lawyers would be filing papers to the High Court to challenge three lockdown restrictions.
“Today our lawyers will be filing papers in the High Court challenging the rationality of three separate lockdown issues – the night curfew, the ban on e-commerce and the restriction on exercise hours,” said Steenhuisen.
A few hours after Steenhuisen’s bold announcement — one that the FF Plus also joined in on — the ban on e-commerce was lifted. In the DA’s mind, it was “one down, two go”.
IF THE DA WINS IN COURT
Right, so the DA was about to challenge the e-commerce ban but before they really could, it was dropped. Two things remain on the agenda though; the night curfew and the restrictions on exercise hours.
If the DA wins its court battle or the restrictions are simply dropped, some parts of daily life would obviously return to normal. Citizens would be able to exercise at any time, which essentially goes hand in hand with the night curfew restriction.
The current curfew regulations state that public transport can only operate from 5:00 – 19:00. These vehicles were previously allowed to run until 20:00.
All drop-offs must be completed by 19:00, eradicating the last hour before curfew and the grace period before 21:00. Private vehicles will be allowed to travel until 20:00 – but no ‘grace period’ applies here. The nationwide curfew remains in place from 20:00 – 5:00 each night under Level 4 of lockdown.
If the DA wins the curfew battle too, it would mean South Africans can be out and about and on the road at any time, even between 20:00 and 05:00.
Whether the DA will claim victory on night curfews and exercise restrictions too, we don’t know but we’ll be waiting patiently.