Despite being caught up in the cigarette sale ban controversy just days ago, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has found a way to lighten the mood.
On Wednesday, she called out Cape Town-based DJ and producer Max Hurrell on Twitter, writing, “Who is this Max Hurrell fellow? We just need to talk.”
Hurrell recently released a song called ZOL, which plays on Dlamini-Zuma’s remarks when she explained why the government was extending the cigarette sale ban.
‘Minister, please follow me back’
“When people zol, they put saliva on a paper and when they share that zol, it means they are moving the saliva from one to the other,” the Minister explained at the time. These remarks form the lyrics to Hurrell’s catchy track.
Hurrell played game to Dlamini-Zuma’s tweet, asking her to follow him back so he could send her a direct message with his “details.”
In other tweets, he confirmed that Dlamini-Zuma had followed him back and joked, “I’ll take my seat in Parliament now. The Minister of Sound.”
Hurrell has also sampled several other humorous clips by other politicians, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s infamous “shut up” retort to Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen. He has shared these clips on his Facebook page.
Govt not out of the woods yet
Despite Dlamini-Zuma’s lighthearted exchange with Hurrell, she and Ramaphosa are still embroiled in a legal dispute with the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) over the ban.
FITA moved to court to compel the government to produce minutes of the National Command Council meeting that extended the ban and to have the ban lifted.
In court papers, Dlamini-Zuma said there was “nothing sinister” about the extension, but said she would provide details on the decision-making process at a later date.
She said, “For present purposes, however, I emphasise that the decision to promulgate the regulation was taken after careful consideration, not only of the submissions received, but also the relevant medical literature.”
“Further, I am advised and submit that such minutes are privileged from disclosure in legal proceedings, as they are protected by what is known as ‘public interest privilege,'” the Minister added.
Ramaphosa was set to address the nation on Wednesday, 13 May at 20h30 amid widespread speculation that he could announce a downgrade to level 3 lockdown, during which the sale of tobacco products could be permitted.