South African presidency rejects ‘state of emergency’ Reports
The Presidency is not working on regulations for a state of emergency, spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said on Tuesday.
This followed a report by News24’s sister publication Rapport on Tuesday morning that regulations were being drafted in terms of the State of Emergency Act 64 of 1997, which would give security officials far-reaching powers.
This included the power to arrest people, search property and cut communication channels, such as cellphones or the internet.
According to an internal memorandum from the military, President Jacob Zuma appointed a team to compose the regulations, reported Rapport.
In a short statement, Ngqulunga said: “The Presidency rejects the media reports alleging that the Presidency has started composing draft regulations for a state of emergency.”
He said a committee had also not been appointed to draw up any regulations.
According to Rapport, the draft regulations declared that no person may write, publish or broadcast something that could be threatening to somebody else or their family during the time of a state of emergency.
Additionally, members of the security forces would be allowed to use as much force, to restore law and order, as deemed necessary under the circumstances.
The Constitution allows a president to declare a state of emergency when war, invasion, revolt, natural disasters or other dangers threaten the nation’s safety.
However, it confines a state of emergency to three months, while preserving certain constitutional rights, such as the rights to dignity and life.