'Hands off Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma': SACP
The South African Communist Party has come out in support of co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma amid criticism of her stance on the cigarette ban.
“[Comrade] Dlamini-Zuma is being singled out from the cabinet and attacked for decisions that have been taken collectively by the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) and the cabinet,” the party said in a statement.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, it added, had consistently explained and clarified the matter of cabinet decisions during the lockdown period.
“There can be no other conclusion than that the attacks on Dr Dlamini-Zuma are underpinned by dubious intentions. The agenda comprises a drive to project the cabinet as divided and pit the president against the minister or vice versa,” SACP spokesperson, Alex Mashilo, said in a statement.
He said it was clear that attacks on Dlamini-Zuma in the media and on social media consisted of patriarchal and sexist attitudes and sought to project Ramaphosa as weak.
“The SACP calls upon the alliance and all formations of our movement to close ranks and decisively confront and expose the attacks on Dr Dlamini-Zuma for what they are – a divisive agenda that seeks to weaken the entire ANC-led movement and divert government from leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
“The SACP will not fold its arms and stand aside in the face of these sustained attacks, and we further call upon our SACP cadres, and indeed all the cadres of our movement as well as all other democratic South Africans, to strengthen their active role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mashilo.
The statement comes amid criticism of the continued ban of cigarette sales, though the government will lift the alcohol ban under level 3, which starts on June 1.
Last week media reports said that Dlamini-Zuma had argued against the lifting of the ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products during the meeting of the NCCC, producing research to back up her argument.
Dlamini-Zuma has distanced herself from cigarette trader Adriano Mazzotti, telling parliament this week that they were not friends, after a question from the DA which suggested the tobacco ban benefited him.