According to News24, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has once again objected the President’s call to open up a few more industries, especially the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. The minister allegedly told the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) that the sale of tobacco and alcohol should continue to be banned until the country reaches Level 1 of the lockdown.
It is said that the Minister believes it would be too much of a health risk to allow the sale of cigarettes and alcohol on 1 June when the country is expected to go to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown – and her stance was supported by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
This objection by Dlamini-Zuma allegedly sparked a debate in the meeting chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, where she came prepared with academic papers that argued against the sale of tobacco and alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic, citing the health risks.
Those who opposed the proposal led by Dlamini-Zuma argued that a pandemic was not the right time to make policy decisions, as both the tobacco and alcohol industries were not banned – they were simply regulated. There was no resolution to the matter.
While some people think the Dlamini-Zuma is being as a scapegoat for political reasons, others were infuriated by the possibility of another u-turn on lifting the ban on cigarettes, and alcohol.