'We don't need you to fight Covid-19': DA tells ANC ministers to stay out of Western Cape
DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has denounced the deployment of national government ministers to the Western Cape in the fight against Covid-19.
This after the Sunday Times reported that five ministers, including police minister Bheki Cele and transport minister Fikile Mbalula, were to be deployed to the province in what DA insiders fear is an ANC attempt to use the Covid-19 crisis to muscle in on SA's only opposition-led province.
Other ministers to be part of the deployment are trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, environment minister Barbara Creecy and deputy ministers Thabang Makwetla and Dikeledi Magadzi.
Madikizela on Monday said there was no need for national government ministers to be deployed to the Western Cape.
The Sunday Times reported that there was a feeling in DA corridors that the central government's intervention smacked of a "coup" attempt - a claim that minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu denied.
Mthembu confirmed that the ministers would be sent, but added that there was nothing political about the move. The decision to send ministers to Covid-19 hotspots was taken by the national coronavirus command council and endorsed by the cabinet.
But Madikizela does not believe so.
“I honestly don’t understand what role they are expected to play in fighting the spread of the virus. I’ll ask the premier to get more clarity about this. What we need is the deployment of more health-care professionals,” he said.
“National ministers have an important role to play to assist the province in their respective ministries. There’s absolutely no need for these ministers to be deployed in the Western Cape when they have so much responsibility across the country.”
Madikizela said the mooted deployment of ministers was rather puzzling, more so after President Cyril Ramaphosa had a productive meeting with premier Alan Winde, in which there was no mention of ministers being deployed to the province.
According to Madikizela, in the meeting between Winde and Ramaphosa, the president asked the province to add more beds in quarantine sites and strengthen contact tracing.
To that effect, Winde requested funding from the national government, to which Ramaphosa agreed, said Madikizela.
He said ministers had a lot of work to do across the country, adding that there was no need to target the Western Cape.