Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has lauded President Cyril Ramaphosa as a consultative leader in the country’s ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the funeral of Dr Clarence Mini in Fourways on Sunday, Mkhize told mourners that Ramaphosa had been leading from the front during the crisis and was always ready to listen.
“He wants to know the scientific basis of this issue. There are people concerned about whether there is science behind the decisions we are taking – there can only be one thing. There can only be science about it because we work with a whole group of medical experts who have various views, but at the end of the day we remain confident that the approaches we have taken are the best,” Mkhize said.
The minister’s remarks come after experts advising the government voiced criticism over the implementation of certain lockdown regulations and the phased approach to easing the restrictions.
New24 reported on Saturday that Dr Glenda Gray, the head of the South African Medical Research Council and chairperson of the MAC (ministerial advisory committee) subcommittee on research, had criticised the phased lifting of the lockdown as “unscientific”.
She said that certain regulations, such as restrictions on the sale of some clothing items, were “nonsensical” and not based on evidence.
Her comment prompted a swift backlash.
On Sunday, Mkhize said that, if there was any message to be taken from the death of Mini, it was that the people of South Africa must work together, unite, and try to hold each other’s hands to see the outbreak through.
Mini, who was affectionately nicknamed Bizzah, was the chairperson of the Council of Medical Schemes (CMS). He died in Johannesburg last week after being hospitalised for more than a month with Covid-19-related complications.
“This infection has really changed the country; it has really changed the world.
“Bizzah’s message is that we need to take this seriously. We need to accept that anyone of us can get it and will get it; we need to accept it and that the whole world is going through a difficult challenge,” Mkhize told mourners.
The minister, who met Mini as young doctor in Harare, Zimbabwe, described him as a patriot who really loved South Africa.
“We are sending you to all our heroes – you’ve also been a hero. You’ve been a revolutionary, a patriot and a people’s doctor,” Mkhize concluded.
Mini is survived by his wife, Nancy, and children, Yandi and Nomhle.