AfricaOpinionSouth Africa

Public Disagreements & Date Postponements by MPs

By Nthabiseng Sekonyela

COVID- 19 Might just be proving to be more than a global pandemic, over the past few months Members of Parliament have been in public disputes highlighting the lack of unity in parliamentary decision making.

On the 29th of April 2020, the Department of Education had proposed phasing dates for possible reopening of schools. This notion was later questioned and rejected by Educational unions, governing bodies as well as some teachers and parents.

The lack of personal protective equipment and resources such as water at some schools proved that the reopening of schools mid May 2020 would have been nonsensical. As a result the dates for the reopening of schools was postponed.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was scheduled to announce the new proposed dates for the reopening of schools on the 19th of May 2020 at 2 pm and yet she postponed the announcement to a delayed time of 6pm.  

At 6pm she informed the public that schools will be opening on the 1st of June 2020 for grade 12 and 7 learners. If this date is revised the general public will certainly be dubious of the reliability of leaders. The constant time delays and postponements raises concerns to the public because it seems that MPs are not in consensus. If those in power cannot work together in unity how will the general public be lead without questioning their leadership skills?

Another related issue at hand, is the fact that, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize,announced that seven COVID-19 districts in SA may remain in stage 4 of the lockdown and not enter stage 3. Hours later the Gauteng Premier David Makhura made an official announcement stating that the entire Gauteng Province will be moving to stage 3 and that no districts will be left behind. An evident and controversial statement that opposes the Health Minister Mkhize’s initial plan of action.

At this rate it would be advisable for Members of Parliament to refrain from making public announcements if they have not yet come to an agreement.

Now is not the time for the people of South Africa to be spotting leadership and unity flaws amongst Members of Parliament. The people need to be reassured that MPs are working together and attending all matters of national importance with a sense of urgency and professionalism.

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