The behavior of the Minister for Cooperative Leadership and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in banning religious gatherings must be irrational unless she has given a reasonable reason for the ban.
This is the filing of Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA) in a long-awaited appeal in the Johannesburg Supreme Court on Tuesday against lockdowns banning such gatherings.
Adrian Botha SC, for FOR SA, said when the Level 5 lockdown was introduced last March, there was a ban on gatherings in restaurants and gyms, but religious gatherings were allowed.
“This is the minister’s fatal mistake. Opened later them restaurants and gyms. Now, having done that, how can she reasonably suggest that circumstances change without telling your lordship the facts?
“She has to be rational State the reason for the change in circumstances. Without such rational reasons, their behavior must be irrational, especially when it comes to a basic human right to worship, “said Botha.
In response to Judge Bashier Vally’s suggestions that people might pray too Home and the ban was only temporary, Botha said that the proposals were aimed at how people worship.
Botha said that FOR SA said in its motion that the irrationality of the regulations was demonstrated by the fact was that the parishioners could meet in a restaurant or conference venue and conduct their worship legally, but they could not legally do so in the specially constructed religious building.
Botha said that Dlamini- Zuma in her response to the affidavit denied the regulations were irrational, saying that the regulations did not interfere with religious beliefs and beliefs. Instead, they merely temporarily prohibited faith-based gatherings in a physical setting.
She said that where there were sacred texts commanding people to assemble, those scriptures were exceptions to the rule in situations where it was unsafe to gather people, said Botha.
“Our answer is that many beliefs – including those of Christians, Muslims, and Jews – are fundamental to themselves need to physically assemble. It is not for the Cogta preacher to suggest how these scriptures should be interpreted. She is neither an expert in this field nor otherwise qualified, “said Botha.
Botha said it was very dangerous for the pastor to imagine how people should practice their religious activities.
< p> “She cannot tell them how to express their beliefs.”
The hearing continues with a reply from the Minister’s lawyer.