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There is currently a great deal of uncertainty in the education sector. In fact, the only certainty is that things are uncertain! We do not know when the schools will reopen (just look at all the different dates that are already out there), we do not know how lost time will be made up, we do not know what the dates of the next terms will be, etc. We do know that the rest of 2020 will be a disrupted school year, parents and businesses will suffer financial losses and may struggle to pay school and hostel fees. We know that many sports, cultural, social, and fundraising activities have been postponed or canceled.

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This new contribution seeks to provide a weekly analysis of constitutional issues arising from COVID-19 and the responses to it. In this instalment, I consider the role of the courts.

In my first contribution a fortnight ago, I considered the broad constitutional implications of COVID-19 for the functioning of government and constitutional rights. My second installment considered the crucial role of Parliament and the efforts to reopen the legislature and its committees virtually. This week, I focus on the courts.

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The outbreak of Covid-19 has led governments across the globe to introduce wide-ranging measures to curb the spread of the deadly disease. This unprecedented occurrence caught the world unawares. In South Africa, extensive lockdown regulations were issued on 18 March 2020 in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002. An update and amendment to these regulations were published on 25 March 2020. These regulations will remain in force throughout and after the lockdown until such time as the President confirms that South Africa is no longer in a state of emergency.

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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.

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The Advertising Regulatory Board recently passed a number of significant changes to the Code of Advertising Practice. Practitioners need to be aware of these changes, which particularly impact the procedure. The correct version of the Code is the one on the website at www.arb.org.za , and the changes outlined in this article are not exhaustive, so regard should always be hard to the actual Code.

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This new contribution seeks to provide a weekly analysis of constitutional issues arising from COVID-19. In this first installment, I map the rights framework and the governance and accountability structures that shape and constrain the government response. Subsequent installments will focus on specific constitutional issues related to both of these themes.

Juta and Company is providing free access to COVID-19 Legislation updates, categorised in an understandable manner so that you are kept up to date on changes as they are made by government, courts and other entities.