‘This is opportunism’: politicians weigh in on Tito Mboweni's stance on elections during Covid-19

03 May 2021 - 10:30 By cebelihle bhengu
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu says President Cyril Ramaphosa should postpone the local government elections, which are due to be held in October. File photo.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu says President Cyril Ramaphosa should postpone the local government elections, which are due to be held in October. File photo.
Image: WERNER HILLS

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi slammed Tito Mboweni on Sunday, after the finance minister said he will not be attending any mass gatherings and campaigns ahead of the local government elections in October. 

Mboweni cited the threat of Covid-19 as his main concern, and called for the postponement of the elections.

“Postpone this thing and save lives! The world won’t end! I am not attending any rally or any face-to-face meeting,” said the minister. 

Shivambu accused Mboweni of “opportunism” and said President Cyril Ramaphosa ignored calls to postpone elections. 

Ndlozi told the minister to raise his concerns with the president. 

“Chief, you know who declared elections. Why don't you tell him? You sit with him in cabinet. Instead of telling him to postpone elections due to Covid-19, you are here irritating us, as if you care," he said. 

Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa agreed with the minister and said SA should halt the elections to prevent a possible spread of infections. 

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane disagreed, saying SA should hold elections to ensure the swift removal of the ruling party. 

A strong message must be sent to the ANC government that has been looting during a pandemic, a government that has botched the vaccine rollout. We must have Covid-19 safe elections this October.”  

Mboweni took to social media on Monday morning, seemingly in response to the fierce debate his comments caused, saying: "So I am only allowed to talk about cattle, sheep, chickens and chillies. Interesting!"

The presidency announced two weeks ago that the 2021 local government elections will be held on Wednesday, October 27. It said SA will join several other countries globally who have held elections during the pandemic.

EFF leader Julius Malema criticised Ramaphosa on the elections announcement.

“Ramaphosa announced the elections will be on October 27 after we told them we need to postpone because it's not safe due to Covid-19. They went ahead and made the announcement because they thought we'd be scared, but we're not. We just care about the wellbeing of our people,” he said. 

The minister's stance also split opinions on social media.


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