Nov 28, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Religious gatherings court battle: ‘Not constitutional to limit right to worship’

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s decision to ban all kinds of belief-based gatherings was arbitrary and irrational, the Johannesburg Supreme Court announced on Monday.

This is one of the filings on a matter launched by four organizations earlier this year. The motions of the South African National Christian Forum, Solidariteit Helpende Hand NPC, Freedom of Religion SA and the Muslim Lawyers’ Association were combined in a single hearing before Judge Bashier Vally.

The organizations are requesting an injunction which explains the rules that repealed the right of assembly while allowing other sectors of the country to go about their business were unconstitutional and unlawful.

They are also trying to repeal the rules enacted by the minister in December 2020 and January 2021 , which outlawed a ban on all religious gatherings during these blackout periods.

The minister denies the motions, saying the matter is contentious as the contested regulations have been replaced with rules allowing faith-based gatherings .

d decisions to contain the spread of Covid-19.

She said that the national state of disaster in South Af rika was proclaimed in March last year and continues to this day.

She said that when regulations are promulgated without time for public comment, civil society takes an increased role to point out the shortcomings in the regulations, for example to point out where the regulations make unacceptable interference with people’s rights and to challenge the government where it does not protect such rights Right to practice this religion includes, and government intervention in its response to that right of the coronavirus pandemic. “

She said solidarity does not question the government’s response to the pandemic.

“What is being challenged is the Minister’s irrational and arbitrary decision to ban all kinds of belief-based gatherings, regardless of where they are convened and how many people attended while simultaneously allowing a variety of social gatherings in restaurants, gyms, casinos, and the like. “

Engelbrecht said these regulations allowed people to go to one place to pursue an economic activity, but not allow them to practice their religion.

“If these social gatherings in restaurants, gyms, casinos and the like are allowed on an economic basis, the question arises according to the rationality not to allow the spiritual well-being of people at the same time. “

” This discrepancy between the treatment of commercial activities and religious activities by the government is at the core of the challenge for regulations, religious and faith-based assemblies concern. “

She said there was no scientific basis to lead to a Sch Conclusion that the risk of spreading Covid-19 is greater at religious gatherings than at social gatherings in a restaurant, casino, or gym.

She said the challenge was not contentious.

Engelbrecht said that there has been a steady increase in new cases of Covid-19 infections recently.

“As we approach Christmas, one of the holiest times on the calendar of the Christian faith, the real Es there is a possibility that the minister will, in her wisdom, again prohibit faith-based gatherings while leaving restaurants, gyms and casinos open of the ban real and present.

The matter will continue on Tuesday with arguments from other applicants.