This new contribution seeks to provide a weekly analysis of constitutional issues arising from COVID-19 and the responses to it. In this installment, I consider the role of Parliament during COVID-19.
Parliament has three main constitutional functions – to make laws, to provide a national forum for public consideration of issues, and to provide oversight over the executive (s 42(3) of the Constitution). When making laws, Parliament is obliged to facilitate public participation in the process (s 59(1)(a)). During the lockdown, Parliament ceased to perform these functions as soon as it was suspended. Rather, as I described last week, several ministers promulgated a raft of new regulations in an emergency, executive-driven response to Covid-19.