The Department of Justice & Constitutional Development has been presented with a Promotion of Access to Information request by the Freedom Advocacy Network on just how much taxpayers’ money was spent on defending the government’s Covid-19 regulations in court.

Noting that such formal requests for information form part of the legal mechanism to ensure a culture of accountability and transparency in government institutions, FAN says it also wants to know how the spending on defending Covid-19 regulations has affected the country in the present economic and fiscal conditions.

The statement says: ‘For two years South Africans were subjected to draconic regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19. Numerous think-tanks, organisations and individuals took the South African Government to court to challenge many of these regulations. Many of these challenges ended in losses for the government.’

Says Hermann Pretorius, managing director of FAN: ‘As we enter the post-pandemic era, it is important to know how desperate the South African government was to defend its often illogical and destructive lockdown policies. The perverse descendant of the lockdown-mania, the current health regulations, are already being challenged in court by no less than four civil-liberty organisations.

‘Given South Africa’s precarious fiscal position and the notoriety of government for wasting money, South Africans deserve to know how much it cost them for the government to defend its hubristic hunger for power in court after court.’

Pretorius adds: ‘South Africans will, as ever, be expected by power-hungry politicians and government officials to foot the bill. It’s time for South Africans to join FAN in saying “no” to such arrogance and wastage.’

The Department of Justice & Constitutional Development has until mid-July to respond to FAN’s request.