‘This is opportunism’: politicians weigh in on Tito Mboweni's stance on elections during Covid-19
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.
You don’t need a PhD to see the dangers of gatherings, election rallies, door to door campaigning and voting lines. Postpone this thing and save lives!! The world won’t end!! I am not attending any rally or any face to face meeting. Thank you.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) May 2, 2021
Shivambu accused Mboweni of “opportunism” and said President Cyril Ramaphosa ignored calls to postpone elections.
This is pure and disgusting opportunism. Your President @CyrilRamaphosa announced elections and refused to listen to genuine calls for a different approach and your officials dishonestly handled discussions with political parties concerning this. https://t.co/0pHXu7WhgC— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) May 2, 2021
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.
Inkomu makwerhu. I know you wouldn’t raise it here if you didn’t speak about it at cabinet. I’m for elections but what happened in India after elections and the mass religious gatherings, made me think twice— Mbhazima Shilowa (@Enghumbhini) May 2, 2021
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.”
That’s garlic flavored fear. I think the people must vote as soon as possible.— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) May 2, 2021
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 covid19 safe elections this October. https://t.co/cps3cWn9QN
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.