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Covid-19 no longer pandemic-Rapapa

Business

… why NACOSEC shut down

Nthatuoa Koeshe and Ntsoaki Motaung

The Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Sam Rapapa who is also Cabinet Spokesperson says Covid-19 is no longer a national threat since it has ceased to be an emergency, hence the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) was dissolved.

Last week Cabinet made and implemented a decision to dissolve NACOSEC as an entity set-up to arrest the scourge of the pandemic. NACOSEC was formed by Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro in June 2020

After the long, sharp shock of Coronavirus (Covid-19), the pandemic phase is finally falling back and this is said to have fueled the decision to shut-down NACOSEC handing over its activities to the Ministry of Health under the Disease Control department.

Rapapa says the move for cabinet to resolve to dissolve NACOSEC was made during the Cabinet seating on March 29 because they concluded that Covid-19 was no longer an emergency saying the health ministry will now deal with everything covid-19 related

NACOSEC was established after the premier disbanded the discredited National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) which faced allegations of corruption and wasteful expenditure on none core issues such as food for its officials instead of materials and services to fight the deadly pandemic.

“Covid-19 is no longer an emergency because the positivity rate is now low and so

 the Health Ministry will now deal with everything Covid-19 related. In the past, half of the Covid-19 tests made came back positive and that itself proved that we were indeed faced with a pandemic but that has since changed as positive cases have massively decreased,” Rapapa said.

He said NACOSEC staffers’ contracts which ended with March were not renewed in order to aid its disbanding.

“NACOSEC stuffers’ contracts ended at the end of March and those who were on secondment were also taken back to their positions in their respective ministries,” he said.

NACOSEC was established on June 30, 2020, under Section 9(d) of the Disaster Management Act No. 2 of 1997 by way of Legal Notice No. 61 of 2020 and following a Declaration of COVID-19 Disaster-Induced State of Emergency Notice No.40 of 2020.

On the State of Emergency under the Constitution, it says the Prime Minister, acting on the advice of the Council of State, declared a disaster induced state of emergency on 27th March 2020 in terms of section 23(1) of the Constitution with effect from 18 March 2020.

“The state of emergency was extended from 15th April 2020 to 28th April 2020 by a substantially similar Legal Notice No 37 of 2020 by the Prime Minister. A state of emergency, once declared, subsists for a period of 14 days in terms of the Constitution and allows for some fundamental freedoms to be limited and some normal legal requirements to be done away with. Civil liberties, with the exception of for instance, the right to dignity and life, are suspended for the period of the state of emergency.

“Government could still have extended the state of emergency but if it does not, there is a state of disaster to fall back on.”

The Legal Notice No 40 of 2020 issued then was enacted and made provision for a declaration of COVID-19 disaster induced state of emergency Notice, 2020 and provided thus;

“In the exercise of the powers conferred on me in terms of section 3 and 15 of the Disaster Management Act, 1997, and acting on the Advice of the Board, I Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, the Prime Minister of Lesotho, in response to COVID-19 pandemic, declare that a Covid-19 state of disaster induced emergency exists throughout Lesotho for a period of 6 months with effect from Wednesday the 29th April to Wednesday the 28th October 2020”, former Premier Thomas Thabane said at the time.  

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