DURBAN – THE DA in KwaZulu-Natal has asked Premier Sihle Zikalala to conduct an investigation into Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane’s birthday party at which Covid-19 regulations were allegedly flouted.
The party also requested a report back to the premier’s portfolio committee within seven days from on Monday.
The IFP has also called for an investigation and for the provincial ANC leadership to institute harsh disciplinary measures against the MEC and other ANC officials depicted in the visuals.
However, Simelane has said it was a surprise birthday lunch under the guise of a meeting invitation, which was held at a private venue, organised and attended by close family and friends.
The DA chief whip in the KZN Legislature, Zwakele Mncwango, on Monday wrote to Zikalala, calling on him to conduct an investigation into Simelane’s conduct.
In the letter, Mncwango said the social media posts about the birthday party for the MEC, held on Sunday night, were “both damning and reflect highly irresponsible, even criminal behaviour in breach of Covid-19 regulations”.
He said the footage showed a potential super-spreader event.
“There is no evidence of any masks being worn, no social distancing taking place and a large gathering of people together in the same venue. Even more concerning is that the video shows a number of MPLs from the KZN legislature,” the letter read.
Mncwango said Zikalala and Simelane had held a media briefing two Sundays ago, cautioning about the third wave in the province, where the premier had criticised restaurants for being super-spreaders of the virus.
Opposition parties are claiming people at the party flouted Covid-19 regulations, which the MEC has denied. I SUPPLIED
The letter continued: “If the MEC of Health, no less, does not believe the rules apply to her, then she cannot continue to lead or be the face of KZN’s campaign against the pandemic. She is not fit to hold office if she cannot lead by example. The Democratic Alliance believes this action has again placed the entire cabinet and provincial government in disrepute.”
Mncwango said if it was indeed a birthday celebration for the MEC, and if Zikalala was serious about accountability, then the DA requested that he take action against the MEC immediately.
The IFP’s KZN spokesperson on health, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, said some ANC MECs had displayed “negligence” after being caught on camera while partying without physical distancing measures and masks in sight.
“We call upon ANC leadership in the province to institute harsh disciplinary measures against the MEC and other ANC officials in the visuals,” Nkwanyana said.
Simelane said she regretted the failure by some of the attendees, including herself, to wear masks during this short performance during dining.
She said she would submit a formal report to Zikalala about the incident.