By Annisa Essack
The Minister published the Draft Health Regulations for public comment until Friday, 15 April 2022. Since publication, there has been massive opposition from South Africa’s religious communities. Thousands of submissions have flooded the Department of Health’s email address, whose server crashed last week.
Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) has requested the CRL Rights Commission to assist the religious community by intervening in the Draft Health Regulations. FOR SA’s Executive Director, Michael Swain, spoke to Radio Islam International.
Swain says that the regulations require proof of vaccination if you wish to attend any gathering that caters for 1000 people indoors and 2000 outdoors. He called this a “medical Apartheid” between those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t.
The Imam will be responsible for ensuring that all attending the masjid or events are vaccinated and thus will be found in breach of the regulation and could potentially be fined a limitless or jailed for up to 10 years.
Swain says that these regulations are a severe threat to religious freedom and must be contested. The rules will allow the government to keep the same powers indefinitely.
He added that the religious community should be viewed as frontline workers, but the government gave no recognition.
He says that the organisation welcomed the ability of the public to make comments on the Draft Health Regulations. The regulations and the power to make the regulations have been delegated to the Minister of Health; however, there is no parliamentary oversight, which means that the minister can make regulations as he sees fit.
FOR SA has invited the CRL to become involved as it has been set up to defend, protect and promote religious freedom. The CRL has responded by saying that they will consider the regulations and formulate a response to the government.
He also urged individuals to make submissions to the government by accessing the FOR SA website as more submissions made mean louder voices which will prompt the government to listen and take heed.
You can access the website here.
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