High court refuses application to cross provinces for a funeral

In what appears to be the first judgment arising from the lockdown regulations, where people must stay at home for 21 days, the Mpumalanga high court has rejected an application from someone who wanted to travel across provinces for a funeral.

In handing down judgment, the court said: “The circumstances of this case are extremely upsetting. It shows in the crudest manner the crude effects of the final lockdown regulations upon a family.”

Karel van Heerden, from Mbombela in Mpumalanga, went to court urgently on Friday afternoon after he received a phone call from his mother that his grandfather, who lived in Hofmeyr in the Eastern Cape, had passed away in a fire at his home. 

Click for our up-to-date guide

“The applicant desperately wants to travel to Hofmeyr in order to support his mother and to assist with his grandfather’s funeral,” said acting judge Johannes Hendrikse Roelofse in a judgment. Van Heerden went to court because he did not want to contravene the regulations, said the judge.

But, even though he said in his affidavit that he had no Covid-19 symptoms or any contact with anyone from abroad, the judge refused, saying the law prohibited travel between provinces.

“I have extreme sympathy for the applicant but I must uphold the law,” said the judge. 

“I cannot accede to the relief the applicant seeks because in doing so, I will be authorising the applicant to break the law under judicial decree — that no court can do. In addition, no matter how careful and diligent the applicant will conduct himself, not only the applicant but many others may be exposed to unnecessary risk, even death if I grant the applicant the relief he seeks,” said Roelofse.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
Franny is the legal reporter at the Mail & Guardian

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday