The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to request an urgent update on the progress made regarding charges we laid against the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, for an apparently illegal gathering on Freedom Day at the start of the extended Covid-19 lockdown.
The Premier contravened lockdown regulations on 27 April 2020 by holding a gathering at Clairwood Hospital where he pulled personnel from their duties to listen to his speech. While the Premier and his dignitaries - detailed in the programme - sat in the shade, the hospital personnel stood for hours in the blazing sun. The Premier has tried to claim that his presence at the hospital was due to routine work from the Provincial Command Council, but this does not explain the stage and sound equipment that were rented for him to make a speech or the need to pull personnel from their highly imported work to gather under the hot sun to hear him speak.
This gathering was in direct contravention of the Disaster Management Act 2002 in terms of section 27(2) regulation 11 B. (1)(a) (ii) which states that “every gathering, as defined in regulation 1 is hereby prohibited, except for a funeral as provided for in subregulation (8)”.
The DA opened the case against Premier Zikalala on 27 April, the same day the contravention took place. That was seven months ago and there has been, and still is, radio silence on the part of the NPA regarding his prosecution. This while scores of people were arrested and humiliated in the beginning of the lockdown for contravening illogical regulations with one mother being arrested for chasing her toddler who dashed across the beach, for the infraction of standing on the sand.
According to the investigating officer, Brigadier Mngcwabe, the NPA has promised a decision since July on whether the Premier would be charged or not. Yet not a peep on their decision has been forthcoming.
While ordinary South Africans, those without ANC connections, were persecuted without rationality or mercy, we have to ask whether or not the delay in relation to this case against the Premier shows the NPA actually prosecutes without fear or favour.
We have to ask whether or not there is a different set of laws for the powerful and powerfully connected, and another set for the rest of us. All men, it appears, are not equal before the law in South Africa. Men like Zikalala will get away with holding potential super spreader illegal events at a hospital no less, while citizens were arrested for legally buying groceries.
Issued by DA