ANC MEC faces criminal charges for saying ‘lockdown ends on Friday’
It's poor form from Sello Lehari, who may now be taken to court for telling citizens in the North West that lockdown would be completed lifted this week.
As South Africa moves from Level 5 of lockdown to Level 4 on Friday – without cigarettes – it would seem that some people are keener than others to get the restrictions lifted. One MEC in North West has been accused of spreading false information about the global health crisis, and he’ll soon have the authorities to answer to.
A misleading statement by MEC of Community Safety "Sello Lehari" telling the community of Ganyesa that The Lockdown is ending tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/bxmxVE5EYz— NORTH WEST TIMES (@NorthWesTimes) April 29, 2020
North West MEC in trouble for saying “lockdown ends on Friday”
Freddy Sonakile is the DA’s North West Spokesperson on Community Safety & Transport. He was left livid by the statements made on Wednesday. He has blasted MEC Sello Lehari for “exposing his own dangerous ignorance”, and revealed that the provincial branch of the party will pursue a criminal case against the MEC:
“North West’s MEC for Department of Community Safety and Transport, Sello Lehari, announced at a public meeting in Ganyesa that the lockdown will come to an end on Friday 1 May. This claim is not only false, but it also exposes his ignorance on the lockdown regulations. The DA will accordingly lay criminal charges.”
“It is concerning that the MEC should be entrusted with community safety matters whilst he is displaying very limited knowledge of the laws of this country. It is further interesting that Lehari was able to go and mislead the public when his office informed us that he is in the process of ‘recovering from an accident’.Freddy Sonakile
Things could get even worse for Sello Lehari
On top of pursuing criminal charges, the DA will now write to the Premier of the North West, Job Mokgoro, requesting him to instruct the MEC to retract his utterances and to consider disciplinary steps against him.
It’s understood that Lehari, if the case is successful, will be charged under new laws which make it illegal to spread false information about the lockdown. Potential punishments, according to the National Disaster act, include fines and jail time – although the latter outcome remains unlikely.
- For the avoidance of doubt: Lockdown does not end anywhere in South African on Friday 1 May. All that’s happening in a slight adjustment in what we’re allowed to do in the next phase. The details are all here.