The African National Congress (ANC) came out in defense of Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma following reports that she has recommended the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol continue until level 1 of the national lockdown.
In a statement the party said it notes with dismay the continuing attacks on Dlamini-Zuma for diligently carrying out her duties as the minister responsible for the coordination of the country’s coronavirus mitigation efforts.
The ANC said the minister does not take decisions as an individual but she is in discussions with Cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The statement by the ANC is in response to reports that the minister has had the final word on the contentious issue of the prohibition of alcohol and cigarette sale.
The party said it’s entirely unacceptable that there are what describes as wedge drivers who are in service of certain businesses – this is in reference to those who have been opposed to the ban.
It said its leaders are being undermined by those who show a callous lack of disregard for the health of South Africans in favour of making profits.
Dlamini -Zuma last month told the nation a decision was made to stop the sale of alcohol and tobacco products when the country was set to move down from level 5 to level 4 of the lockdown.
Her pronouncement contradicted that of President Ramaphosa who had initially said that these products will be permitted to be sold under level 4 lockdown.
However, as the country awaits Ramaphosa’s address on Sunday evening, the ANC has come out saying it supports the national coronavirus command council and its decisions should be respected.