'I do not run government. I am part of a collective' - Dlamini-Zuma on alcohol, tobacco decisions

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  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said those who took the government to court over the alcohol and cigarette ban gave her too much credit.
  • Dlamini-Zuma said she did not take decisions on her own and was merely taking responsibility for broad lockdown regulations.
  • She announced new regulations on Monday as the country prepares to move to Level 2 of the lockdown.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana-Dlamini-Zuma says she has been given way too much credit for the government's decision to ban the sale of cigarettes and alcohol.

She also made it clear President Cyril Ramaphosa led the government and in no way had she dictated to the Cabinet what to do.

Dlamini-Zuma spoke during a press conference on Monday where she outlined the Level 2 lockdown regulations which take effect at midnight.

READ | Lockdown: All the new rules for Level 2

Asked about the several court cases the government has faced over the lockdown and ban on alcohol and cigarettes, she said: "People give me credit I do not deserve. I do not run government; I am part of a collective," she said, adding:

In the end, I am the one who signs off because someone has to take responsibility for the regulations, but I am in no way in charge and making decisions alone. I actually think that is short-changing the government and the president.

Dlamini-Zuma has become the unofficial face of the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products as it is her responsibility to gazette the regulations of various lockdown levels.

In the most recent case in the Western Cape High Court, the government admitted "smoking populations were less likely to be infected" with the coronavirus and develop Covid-19.

Case

That case involved British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) one of the country's biggest cigarettes manufacturer.

Several organisations have taken the government to court to overturn the decision to ban the sale of liquor.

Also, a group of restaurants, led by Cape Town-based Chefs Warehouse restaurants, argued it made no sense for the government to insist all provinces be dealt with at the same time and equally as Covid-19 peaks occurred at different times.

READ | Gyms can reopen on Tuesday - but no more than 50 people can be inside at a time

The case was set to be heard later this month, but with the alcohol ban lifted, it is not clear whether the parties will proceed any further.

"The way people have been putting it, it's as though I tell the entire Cabinet we are going to limit the sale of tobacco, now we are going to open the sale of tobacco, now we are going to limit alcohol. No, I don't do that. I think they've just given me too much credit which I do not deserve.

"The president leads a team and it's the team that decides. Yes, everybody puts their views … everybody argues, but at the end of the day what is decided is decided by the team," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma added the perception she was responsible for all decisions was wrong.

"But I suppose some people find it easier to find a scapegoat, that is part of life."

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