Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says he will be taking action against media personality Somizi Mhlongo after ‘bad joke’ that landed Mbalula in hot water.
Mbalula and Mhlongo faced social media reactions following a video of Mhlongo revealing that the minister told him that the lockdown would be extended.
— Man’s NOT Barry Roux (@AdvoBarryRoux) April 10, 2020
The minister is expected to report the Mhlongo issue to law enforcement authorities.
“I have discussed the Mr Mhlongo name-dropping of my name with President Cyril Ramaphosa and will on Friday morning report this matter to law enforcement authorities as regulated and published under the Disaster Management Act on fake news and misinformation peddling.”
Meanwhile, Mhlongo took to social media to apologise saying he was joking, “It was a bad joke”.
“I have noted Mr Mhlongo’s apology. However I do not view his utterances as mere joke, the country is going through a serious disaster management period and any misinformation, irregular or unauthorized information being published is both unlawful and not assisting in our cause to manage public affairs carefully, “says Mbalula.
— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) April 9, 2020
Mbalula says Mhlongo acted recklessly and irresponsibly, “Even though Mr Mhlongo guessed it right in his speculative discussion – he went further to mislead the public about the source of his information which undermines and is pre-emptive on government and the president over very sensitive information of a national security caliber of which I am very sensitive to and have adhered to in all my time in the executive, “says Mbalula.
Mbalula remains adamant that he did not discuss the lockdown extension plans with Mhlongo.
“As I did not discuss the lockdown timeline or extension plans with Mr Mhlongo at all whatsoever and to this end my conscience is clear and prepared to attest to this under oath – having served in multiple cabinets,” Mbalula.
Transport Minister @MbalulaFikile is taking action against @somizi for ‘Name dropping’ that he spoke to Minister on the Extension of the #LockdownSA before the President made the announcement last night. #CoronaVirusSA #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/vzdhJkMXR3
— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) April 10, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended South Africa’s 21 days national lockdown by two more weeks. He announced this in a television address on Thursday evening.
The President says there’s compelling evidence that the lockdown is working.
“If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease we risk reversing the gains that we have made over the last few weeks and rendering meaningless the great sacrifices that we have all made. Fellow South Africans this evening I stand before you to ask you to endure a little longer.”