With Deputy President David Mabuza expected to touch down in South Africa on Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the country’s surgeon-general to update the nation on Mabuza’s health following his visit to Russia for medical treatment.
DA MP and shadow minister for the Presidency, Solly Malatsi, says the party believes that it is in the public interest for Surgeon-General, Lieutenant-General Zola Dabula, to clarify Mabuza’s suitability to continue as the country’s deputy president given his frequent absence from office due to medical reasons.
Malatsi said while Mabuza has the right to keep his medical affairs private, if his condition requires him to regularly leave the country for a protracted period of time, South Africans should know whether Mabuza is indeed fit to continue in office.
“When it comes to his physical state, the deputy president has the right to privacy, however, his protracted absence from his official duties cannot continue to be shrouded in mystery,” Malatsi said in a statement.
Since then, former president Jacob Zuma was incarcerated for being in contempt of the Constitutional Court and the country was swept by deadly civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, which claimed the lives of more than 300 people and caused damage to infrastructure running into billions of rands.
There have also been mounting calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to reshuffle his Cabinet after his admission that government was slow to respond to the “failed insurrection“.
But according to several reports, the deputy president has been keeping abreast with the developments in the country and his office has denied claims that taxpayers footed the bill for his trip to Russia.
Malatsi said given Mabuza’s duties as leader of government business and the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on Covid-19 vaccines, among others, the surgeon-general’s clarification on the status of his health is even more critical.
“The deputy president has been a scarce figure in government and if he needs time to step down from his duties, he should be provided with the time that he requires to recover and focus on his health without the disruption of the gruesome demands of his current office,” he said.