ANC yet to show Zim delegation adhered to Covid-19 regulations 

The ruling party is yet to show that its delegation that travelled to Zimbabwe adhered to Covid-19 mandatory quarantine period on their return, with the health department saying the isolation requirement in terms of the lockdown regulations has not changed. And, it appears as though the ANC's high-level delegation – led by the party's secretary-general, Ace Magashule, and including Nomvula Mokonyane, Lindiwe Zulu, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Tony Yengeni – also did not have official permission from the ministry of transport to leave the country, as is mandatory in terms of the lockdown restrictions. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula ducked the issue...
The ruling party is yet to show that its delegation that travelled to Zimbabwe adhered to Covid-19 mandatory quarantine period on their return, with the health department saying the isolation requirement in terms of the lockdown regulations has not changed.

And, it appears as though the ANC's high-level delegation – led by the party's secretary-general, Ace Magashule, and including Nomvula Mokonyane, Lindiwe Zulu, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Tony Yengeni – also did not have official permission from the ministry of transport to leave the country, as is mandatory in terms of the lockdown restrictions.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula ducked the issue yesterday, saying that because the delegation travelled in a South African Air Force (SAAF) Falcon executive jet, they did not need permission. This was, he said because the SAAF "controls the skies".

There is apparently no record of the delegation going into state quarantine for 10 days or applying for self-quarantine but the department would neither confirm, nor deny this.

Health department spokesperson Popo Maja would not answer specific questions, saying only that the department's Covid-19 protocol directive was clear.

"Anyone returning from travelling abroad has to be subjected to quarantine protocols. That is a general directive, but I cannot speak on this specific matter as it was organised by the South African National Defence Force [SANDF]," he said.

Also read: Public Protector considering probing use of air force jet for ANC's Zim visit

Maja said the SANDF was in a better position to confirm quarantine details, but Sphiwe Dlamini, SANDF spokesperson, had not answered questions. It is also not clear whether the ANC delegation had necessary permission as lockdown regulations barring international travel were still in place under Level 2.

Restrictions imposed in terms of the national disaster stipulates that all international travel is prohibited, except in exceptional cases and only if approval is obtained beforehand. According to Kobus Marais, the defence spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance (DA), there has been no response to question about whether the delegation had the permission of the Mbalula to take the trip, as dictated by Level 2 lockdown regulations.

He called for transparency and for the documentation authorising the trip to be made public. He said if this did not happen, ANC officials would have broken the lockdown regulations.

"President [Cyril] Ramaphosa remains absolutely silent and is ignoring urgent calls to speak up and take action against these senior ANC cadres. Ramaphosa is commander in chief of the SANDF and head of the ANC and is thus obliged to make an urgent public statement. Why is he still silent on this matter?" Marais said in a statement.

The delegation's use of the SANDF jet has also caused a stir, but the SANDF said the ANC meeting with the Zanu-PF coincided with the official meeting of Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula in Zimbabwe so she gave her comrades a lift.

The SANDF said in a statement: "The ANC delegation was going to deal with issues that are having a direct impact on South Africa. This is not a common occurrence and has never happened before."

The Freedom Front Plus is lodging a formal complaint with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane as the visit was not official state business but one political party visiting another political party in Zimbabwe.

siphom@citizen.co.za

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