Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has criticised those opposed to the repatriation of South Africans from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
The South Africans are expected back home on Friday. SowetanLIVE reported earlier on Thursday that the Ministry of Health had identified a 4-star hotel in Polokwane, Limpopo, as a possible quarantine centre to house them.
The inter-ministerial team on coronavirus, led by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, met with the African National Congress (ANC) leadership in Limpopo on Thursday morning to discuss the repatriation process.
ANCYL opposed to plan
However, the ANC Youth League in the Peter Mokaba region issued a statement expressing worry about Limpopo being the host.
It said, “Our bone of contention as the ANCYL in Peter Mokaba is that the first site which was identified is the Free State, and now that the Free State has reneged, Limpopo province was seen to be a low-hanging fruit to play host to the patients.”
Social media influencer Daniel Marven, who has more than 500,000 followers, also spoke out against the plan.
He tweeted, “Miss Universe Zozibini never set her feet in Limpopo. After winning Rugby World Cup, winners never come to Limpopo. Why [must] coronavirus and people from China be quarantined in Limpopo? Y’all in government you will learn that people govern that this silly decision you take [sic].”
‘Stop being so evil’
Reacting to these protestations, Ndlozi said none of the South Africans in Wuhan has coronavirus and should therefore be allowed to return.
He tweeted, “There is absolutely no rationale in protesting South Africans to come home from China [sic]. None of them has coronavirus.
“If they did, they would have been committed to Wuhan hospital facilities. Allow them to come home, this is their home! They are us, we are them! Stop being so evil.”
The debate comes hours after Mkhize announced that South Africa has had its first case of local transmission of the virus.
In a statement, he said the case is a 32-year-old male in the Free State province who came into contact with a Chinese businessman and had not travelled abroad.
Three more cases, who had all travelled abroad recently, were identified in Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. The total number of confirmed cases in South Africa now stands at 17.
Mkhize said, “At this stage, all patients are in self-quarantine and have mild to moderate symptoms. They are also on symptomatic treatment.
“Our tracing teams are now making a list and have started contacting individuals that have been identified as these patients’ contacts.”
UPDATE: Minister Mkhize has since withdrawn the case of the Free State man and apologised to the public. Subsequent tests of the man came back negative.