Calls are intensifying for public representatives to test for the coronavirus if they know they came into contact with people who tested positive. The Congress of the People (Cope) says this will instill confidence in the public and defeat stigmatisation if public representatives take the lead in testing.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus)also support the call for MPs to do cornavirus tests. They say MPs are essential services workers, who are always in contact with people.
So far two MPs, Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart, have tested positive for coronavirus after they came into contact with international guests at a religious gathering. Other MPs who have undergone tests and were negative such as UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa and Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald . They were part of the meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and party leaders over two weeks ago. They decided to test after they came into contact with Meshoe.
The President did take the test and the results came out negative.
Even though I have no symptoms of #Covid_19SA, I decided to be tested this afternoon. The officials that came were very professional & respectful. After the testing one of them said, “you don’t look like you have the virus, you look strong & healthy for your age.” PTL.
— Kenneth Meshoe (@RevMeshoe) March 22, 2020
On the video below, Meshoe confirms he tested positive with coronavirus:
“The responsibility of public representatives is to lead by example. All MP, MPLs, councillors who know that they were in contact with a person which is now infected by the this coronavirus must go for testing. We call upon them to do the right thing. There is no other way. Public representatives can play a big role in encouraging society if people see them taking the lead in testing. Coronavirus is not a joke. All of us must do everything in our power to fight this virus. We can beat it if we are serious in helping this government in fighting coronavirus,” says COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem.
The UDM says MPs are essential workers who have to prevent spreading the virus unintentionally while doing their work.
“The United Democratic Movement without a doubt supports the call for the members of Parliament to go and test for the coronavirus. This is particularly important in light of the developments of the past few weeks where some of our colleagues unfortunately tested positive with the coronavirus. It is important that as members of Parliament, as leaders of society do everything in our power to show that we do not unknowingly and unintentionally end up spread the corona virus as we do out essential work or perform our role as essential workers or perform out role as essential workers during this time of disaster,” says UDM Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.
Below is a report on the Health Minister’s call against complacency in the fight against COIVD-19:
On Friday last week, ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina also called on MPs to test for COVID-19.
This comes after the National Assembly conveneda special meeting last month to pass the Division of Revenue Amendment Bill (DORA). The sitting came after President Cyril Ramaphosa banned the gathering of more than 100 people. If the bill was not passed, government would not have money to run the country.
“There was a sitting which took 14 minutes but that sitting most of the members of Parliament were there. We want to urge to all members to go out and test because until you have tested and received the results, no one can say it’s not gonna affect me. All of us must support one another, work together and ensure that we exercise all the precautionary measures as well as staying away, be at home and support lockdown” says Majodina.
FF Plus leader Piter Groenewald, who tested negative for COVID-19 , says public representatives who fail to test while they know they came into contact with people who tested positive will be complicit in spreading the virus.
“I am thankful to announce that I have tested negative. But I want to appeal to all my colleagues who are public representatives. You are in contact with many people due to your task and your activities. If ever you came into contact with someone you know that has been tested positive for the COVI 19 virus or when you start showing the symptoms for the corona virus. I urge you to go for the test to ensure that you are negative because if if you don’t do that and you continue with your work where you make contact with many people,- then you will be complicit in spreading the virus.”
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