eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is expected to ask the Covid-19 National Command Council to end lockdown regulations as per the ANC chief whip’s request. I Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is expected to ask the Covid-19 National Command Council to end lockdown regulations as per the ANC chief whip’s request. I Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Mixed reaction to eThekwini chief whip’s call to end lockdown

By Willem Phungula Time of article published Jul 23, 2021

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Durban: There was mixed reaction to the ANC’s eThekwini chief whip’s call for an end to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Councillor Sibongiseni Mkhize shocked many members of the eThekwini Municipality’s Executive Committee (Exco) on Tuesday when he stood up and called for a total end to the lockdown in the country. Mkhize said he did not believe that the mass looting and chaos that gripped the province and Gauteng had anything to do with the campaign to release former president Jacob Zuma, adding that people just used the opportunity to vent their anger on the government in revenge for locking them down for almost two years.

He asked Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to take his call to the national government.

In justifying his call, Mkhize said people have learned to live side by side with Covid-19 the same way they did with HIV/Aids.

“People should be encouraged to wear masks the same way they were told to use condoms when engaging in sex. People should be allowed to visit their sick loved ones in hospitals, and churches must be opened to pray for people,” said the chief whip.

Democratic Alliance chief whip Thabani Mthethwa said it was a reckless call from a senior ANC councillor. He said as much as the DA would support the easing of regulations to help the economy to recover, calling for a complete ending of lockdown was a reckless statement.

“To be honest, we never expected that call from a senior Exco member. Mkhize should know better that the virus has killed close to 70 000 people, and the number of infections are rising daily. We know people have lost jobs and are suffering, but lives matter more than anything else,” said Mthethwa.

Economic Freedom Fighters caucus leader Mlebuka Hlengwa concurred with Mkhize.

Hlengwa said that it had been his party's position that the lockdown was not the correct measure to deal with the virus and had been calling for it to end.

“Lockdown was not helping. We are on level 4, but infection numbers are still high, so the EFF supports ANC chief whip on this one,” said Hlengwa.

Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mdu Nkosi said he too was surprised by Mkhize’s call.

He said that he did not believe that the government would take that call seriously. Nkosi said the only thing he would support would be the opening of churches under certain conditions like funerals because people need spiritual healing.

The mayor’s spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said Mkhize’s proposal was directed at Exco, not to the mayor alone, so it was Exco that must decide on the matter.

The Daily News

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