Groenewald looking to change disaster management legislation


South Africans have lived under various alert levels in compliance with government edicts in terms of a national state of disaster since March last year. One who is looking for changed to disaster management legislation is opposition Freedom Front Plus party leader Pieter Groenewald.

He submitted a private member’s bill – the Disaster Management Amendment Bill – for consideration by the National Assembly (NA) which is asking for written submissions ahead of its possible appearance on the announcements, tablings and committee reports list.

Groenewald’s proposal does not go into the hands-on issues of regulations such as those the President Cyril Ramaphosa-led administration enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include closing bars, restaurants and taverns as well as halting sales of alcohol for off-site consumption at various so-called “alert levels”, social distancing, curfews and banning cross-provincial travel as well as international travel.

Instead, the FF+ leader’s submission concentrates on the legal, legislative and regulatory aspects of a national state of disaster.

He proposes only the NA, a provincial legislature or municipal council may implement or extend a national, provincial or local state of disaster and its duration. Additionally, any resolution to implement or extend a state if disaster, be it at national, provincial or local authority level, can only be enforced following public debate in the applicable public representative’s chamber. Oversight for either a national or provincial state of disaster will come from, in the case of the NA, the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and whichever provincial executive committee is tasked accordingly.

Written submissions will be accepted by Shereen Cassiem, Box 15, Parliament, Cape Town, 8000 or [email protected] until 26 August.