ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has told the tobacco industry to “back off” after a petition started circulating online this week, calling for the “removal” of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Almost 175 000 people had signed the petition by Saturday. According to the petition, Dlamini-Zuma has, under the National Disaster Act, written “unconstitutional bylaws for her own personal gain and power”.
The petition accuses Dlamini-Zuma of “irrationally misusing her power” and “seeking revenge through a pandemic” for “her own past struggles”. It also claims she overrode “President Cyril Ramaposa’s call” to lift the ban on the sale of tobacco products under Level 4 of the national lockdown.
It is unclear what links, if any, the petition has to the tobacco industry.
Duarte voiced her protest against the “odious attack on Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by what is clearly a well-orchestrated and well-heeled tobacco industry”, in a voice message shared with News24.
In the message, she says the industry is trying to “make sure that we are driven into a deeper crisis during a period when we are facing a health crisis that attacks people’s respiratory organs”.
She also lashed out at the industry, saying it had, “over years… exploited the health of many people across the world”.
‘NDZ has done more for SA than tobacco industry’
“Well, as far as I’m concerned, this woman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has done more for this country than the tobacco industry