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.
“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.