COVID-19: Maimane rejects Mboweni’s call to postpone local govt elections

Image credit: Facebook/One South Africa Movement

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has rejected Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s call for a postponement of this year’s local government elections.

Mboweni made the call via Twitter on Sunday, barely two weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will hold the elections on 27 October 2021.

‘Postpone and save lives’

“You don’t need a PhD to see the dangers of gatherings, election rallies, door-to-door campaigning and voting lines. Postpone this thing and save lives!! The world won’t end!! I am not attending any rally or any face-to-face meeting. Thank you,” he tweeted.

However, Maimane referred to Mboweni’s call as “garlic-flavoured fear” – a tongue-in-cheek reference to the latter’s famous love for garlic.

“That’s garlic-flavoured fear. I think the people must vote as soon as possible,” the former DA leader tweeted in response.

“A strong message must be sent to the ANC government that has been looting during a pandemic, a government that has botched the vaccine rollout. We must have COVID-19-safe elections this October.”

The One SA Movement announced earlier this year that it will support independent candidates, “chosen by their communities, to stand for election as ward councillors in this year’s local government elections.”

‘Opportunism’

Although EFF has also voiced support for postponing the elections, two of its leaders, Floyd Shivambu and Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, criticised Mboweni’s tweet.

“This is pure and disgusting opportunism. Your President @CyrilRamaphosa announced elections and refused to listen to genuine calls for a different approach and your officials dishonestly handled discussions with political parties concerning this,” Shivambu wrote.

Ndlozi urged Mboweni to raise his concerns with Ramaphosa because he’s the one who “declared elections.”

He added, “You sit with him in Cabinet, drink garlic juice with him and go shoe shopping together. Instead of telling him to postpone elections due to COVID-19, you are here irritating us as if you care.”

In a follow-up tweet later on Sunday, Mboweni stood by his call. “People who want to suppress discussion, conversation and debate by pooling rank are in my view the most dangerous for democratic societies,” he wrote.

“Differ but debate! Don’t threaten somebody who has a different view to yours.”

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