Maverick Citizen

GROUNDUP EDITORIAL: SLIPPERY SLOPE

There is no scientific basis for the 12am to 4am curfew in SA — it should be scrapped immediately

Johannesburg at night. Freedom of movement in South Africa has been restricted by curfews during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Nico Roets via Flickr)

Curfews should be reinstated in South Africa only if hospital beds begin running out again.

First published by GroundUp.

There is no scientific basis for the continued 12am to 4am curfew. It should be ended. The third wave is over and this restriction does not mitigate the Covid pandemic. If Covid hospitalisations start ticking up again, a temporary curfew may be reinstated.

While most people are happy to be asleep or at least in their homes during the curfew hours, sometimes some people want to be out in the early hours of the morning, and there is no reasonable justification for the state forbidding it.

The curfew may seem, at worst, a minor inconvenience but it’s a slippery slope when the state gets away with restricting rights without good reason. Today the state — wrongly — claims to have a curfew as a public health measure. Tomorrow it could be to stop political protests.

To be clear: We are not expressing our concern from an anti-lockdown position. We supported the need for a lockdown when it was called in March 2020 (though it was over-zealous and too long). If we have a fourth wave with substantially increasing mortality, restrictions may indeed be necessary again for a temporary period. Alcohol restrictions plus curfew can be justified when hospital beds are at risk of reaching capacity, but this is not currently the situation.

Also, lockdown regulations are poorly enforced anyway and it erodes the state’s authority when it makes laws it does not enforce. Let’s rather have fewer regulations, properly justified, that are actually enforced.

We continue to support public health measures such as wearing masks in indoor places where the public gathers, such as stores, cinemas, sporting events, transport and religious services. Stores should implement proper physical distancing. These measures should be better enforced.

But when the epidemic is in a mostly dormant phase, as it is currently, the curfew is an unnecessary restriction on our rights. It should go. DM

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"