“If a law is unjust, man is not only right to disobey it, he is morally obligated to do it.”  Thomas Jefferson

Section 9 of chapter 3 of our constitution states: “Every person shall have the right to life. “ Surely life means more than just being technically not dead?

Section 11(1) states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom and security of the person…”

Section 11(2) states: “No person shall be subject to torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional…” We are indeed tortured, physically by being deprived of food, directly or indirectly, and mentally and emotionally, especially those who live in 3 x 3m shacks.

Section 18 states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom of movement anywhere within the national territory.”

Section 24 (c) states: “Every person shall have the right to be furnished with reasons in writing for administrative action which affects any of his or her rights or interests unless the reasons for such action have been made public.” I have heard no explanations how golfing, surfing, running, cycling (unless it’s between 6 and 9am, it is dangerous), etc as well as smoking (surely Min Dlamini Zuma’s explanation cannot be taken as serious!) to name but a few, will spread the virus. 

Section 26 states: “Every person shall have the right freely to engage in economic activity and to pursue a livelihood anywhere in national territory.”

Section 34 states: “The rights entrenched in this chapter may be suspended only in consequence of the declaration of a state of emergency, and only to the extent necessary to restore peace or order. “ Thus it has no application in a situation like this.

On 15 March government has in terms of the disaster management act of Section 3 of 2002 declared a national state of disaster. In terms of section 27(3) of this act government is allowed to make regulations or issue directions only to the extent that it is necessary for the purposes of:

(a) assisting and protecting the public;

(b) providing relief to the public

(c) protecting property

(d) preventing or combating disruption; or

(e) dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster.

Let us examine the merits and thus legality of the laws proclaimed and regulations issued in terms of the above specific parameters which it needs to comply with:

(a) “Assisting and protecting the public”: Let us first focus on “assisting”. Government is “assisting” the public by prohibiting them from earning a living, by inducing a depression that will make the 1929 depression look like a Sunday school picnic, by prohibiting the public from leaving their 3 x 3m shacks in order to go to work and make a living etc etc. They were so kind to call up 76000 SANDF troops to assist in this help to the public. Reason given was to deliver water etc. Enough said about assisting. Let’s talk about “protecting”, protecting us from what? Consider some background:

“Protecting” us from a virus, a world pandemic, that has killed 004% of the world population, compared to the normal annual 0,1% from respiratory diseases, that is 1,3% of deaths from normal respiratory diseases, proportionately adjusted for the time we have had Corona with us, in other words apples compared with apples.  On top of that, take into account any patient dying having been diagnosed with the virus are recorded as dying from the virus. In Italy for instance, 99% of fatalities have had at least one serious pre-morbidity. Half had three or more. Only 12 % of deaths were related directly to Corvid-19. After 47 days of lock down, costing this country about R700bn, we have had 206 deaths, equal to the amount of people being murdered in 3,5 days. I am asking: protecting us against what??!! Why does a life ended by murder is irrelevant compared to a life ended with Covid-19 that was very likely to end in the very near term anyway? Deaths related to Covid-19 for under 50-year olds amount to 1,5% and 4,1% of total Covid deaths for under 60-year olds. This basically makes up the entire work force and or over 91% of the population, yet we are shutting down the whole economy and starving the vast majority of people for a perceived risk that does not practically affect them at all! The average age of our population in this country is 27, for which statistics indicate a practically zero fatality rate, which means most of the infected people will not have any idea that they are or were infected with this so called deadly virus. And the government want us to believe that they are protecting us!!?? 

I can bombard this argument with tons of pages of overwhelming evidence, but I do believe that very view people still need convincing of the ridiculousness of  government’s reaction to this so called pandemic.

(b) “Providing relief to the public”. I am at a loss for words here. Where do I begin? Millions are starving. If it was not for good hearted individuals and the private sector donating food for the masses, this country would have been up in flames already. It is only the good people of this country who are saving the government from the inevitable consequences of their irresponsible and reckless behaviour and in the process postponing ultimate and total chaos. The only crisis we need relief from is the one instigated and enforced by government.

(c) “Protecting property”. Depriving the masses from income and food will surely result in widespread chaos on several fronts including burning and looting of private and government (actually people’s) property.  Consider that as at 30 April 962 schools have been looted and burnt down. Thus again, the opposite is being achieved here.

(d) “Preventing or combating disruption”. I cannot think of anything more disrupting than the lock down regime.

(e) “Dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster”. Again the only disaster is clearly the one that government created by their own actions. Covid-19 is entirely dwarfed by the socio-economic crisis created by government.

Not only do the lock down laws not comply with the above criteria, but they almost throughout actually create and cause what they were designed to protect us from. In fact, they comply totally with the definition of crimes against humanity. The effects were and are devastating and would have been even much more severe were it not for so many private individuals and organisations who donated food and saved the government from actually being confronted with the full consequences of your unscrupulous actions. On top of this so many laws and directives are totally illogical and ridiculous as there is no link between those and containing the spread of the virus.

South Africa’s only scientist Nobel prize winner, 73 year old prof Michael Levitt who is heading up Stanford University Medicine’s Structural Biology department, a world leader in the molecular and structural understanding of biology, says our lock down is the very worst of possible options. Even our so called Command council’s pro lock down Prof Karim, has now been saying for the past three weeks our lock down has served its purpose and does not serve any positive purpose anymore. Yet the silence from government is deafening.

In my opinion the State of disaster is not warranted and legally does not comply with the conditions as clearly set out in our constitution, thus making the laws and directives illegal. Government’s actions must stand the test of amongst others, consistency and transparency. Questions like the out of proportion reaction and continuation of current Covid measures but ignoring and being totally complacent about the 60 murders per day in SA begs for a rational and satisfactory answer. Do not expect your citizens to buy your start of every speech “the lock down is indeed very necessary to contain the spread of the virus” anymore when the other deaths receive relatively no attention.  

The recourse of administrative justice offered to South Africa’s citizens in terms of section 24 of chapter 3 of the constitution does not provide any practical recourse for the masses as the costs of the legal system makes it an area reserved for organised politics, commerce and industry, and the state. It is a dream far removed from the society it was intended to protect. I addition, dozens of attempts have been made to challenge the merits of your lock down strategy, but to no avail.

It is clear that the people of South Africa have had enough. It is also clear, considering the facts, that there is a hidden and sinister agenda from government that is very far removed from serving the people of this country. South Africans want to responsibly normalise their lives as much as possible and start making a living for themselves, restoring their dignity as also provided for in the constitution in section 10 of chapter 3.

Mr President, you have forsaken the people of South Africa. Your one third salary reduction taken as a show of “solidarity” with the people of South Africa, still leaving almost R170 000 per month on the table in addition to the billions that you made from your own party’s BEE legislation, makes me vomit when I see the hardship and desperation around me. You are being held accountable for this. Do not think you will find protection from the praise you are receiving from the WHO for they will be exposed too. Supporting your lock down while people stand in a four km long queue four people next to each other for most of the way points to what they actually are and what they will still be exposed for. What we see around us (and this is only the beginning because this ship has a lot of momentum and will not easily be turned around) is a humanitarian disaster.

Mr President, you had the support and goodwill of a very large part of this nation when you took over the presidency. You have squandered it, abused it, trampled on it and destroyed it. 

You are giving us as peace loving and dedicated citizens of this country no choice but to take control back of our own lives and livelihood as from 18 May 2020. We will open businesses wherever we can do it in a responsible, but non-paranoiac way. We will report for work and demand that businesses, golf clubs etc which have not been bankrupted yet, open without delay. We do not want to stand for hours and days in queues anymore waiting for food parcels to be distributed but then never arrive or wait upon kind hearted souls for food but who are then stopped because they don’t have a permit. We will transport farm produce and other items like normal and will not be intimidated by your Chinese trained militaristic law enforcement officials. We will go for walks, exercise, surf and swim where and when we feel like it because we need to build our health and immune system again.  We will go about all in a responsible way. We will take responsibility and decide ourselves who is really at risk and behave commensurately. We will at all times act respectfully and responsibly towards people around us. We do not say this to please you Mr President. We say this because we are responsible people who will build a wonderful prosperous and safe country if we can rid ourselves of your toxic and power obsessed corrupt government. We cannot be victimized by your reckless and irresponsible actions anymore which are clearly dictated by party in-fighting and political power plays.

We choose not to defer death for the imminent few to the extent that we make life unlivable for the rest. We love all our people, including the sick and the elderly and we will care for them and ourselves to the best of our ability. We choose to bear that responsibility ourselves. We are not your children Mr President and we will not tolerate you treating us as such anymore.

We point out that this is not a petition where we ask you to consider our request. The time is past for that. You are reckless in your fiduciary duty of governing this country responsibly and with accountability to the people of South Africa for who you are in service to. We are informing you that we are claiming back our constitutional rights, our freedom.

On behalf of all the peace loving but very concerned citizens who have the best interests of this beautiful country as well as themselves at heart; we are claiming back our freedom as from Monday 18 May.

Simon van Deventer

12 May 2020