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Things to Expect if a State of Emergency is Declared

As the looting and the violent protests continues across the provinces of Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal and most recently in Neilspruit Mpumalanga, there have been calls from the citizens of the country and owners of the businesses that are being destroyed for the president and the government to implement a state of emergency protocol.

A state of emergency is where the where certain laws and rights are suspended and law enforcement agencies are given increased powers. It is often passed by a government due to the result of war, civil unrest or a natural disaster that threatens the country, and at the present moment the government states that the country is not yet at a point for a state of emergency to be called upon and points to the fact that the situation can still be controlled and managed.

Here is a list of what to expect if a state of emergency is declared by Cathy Powell associate professor in public law at the university of Cape Town.

Cathy states that a state of emergency in many ways is actually better regulated 

The difference is the downside whereas the state of emergency does not allow for the derogation of rights on paper, and under a state of emergency there certain human rights that can not be taken away rights like the right to life and human dignity can't be taken away, but rights like the right to freedom of movement and the right to education and the social economic rights go out the window.

Cathy also goes on to say that, theres a lot more provision for rule and serious inroads into the rights of the citizens in that they can be removed or ignored completely.

She states that the constitution allows the president to declare a state of emergency with immediate effect, with no time limit on how it may take to make the declaration. But once it is declared it only lasts for 21 days and after that an extension has to come from parliament, they can only be for 3 months then the majority voting powers needed for another extension by parliament increase.

The matter will still be judiciable, so the courts can declare on the validity of the very declaration and on measures taken under it.


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