Parliament – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and other ministers involved in the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic must be made to answer questions in parliament every two weeks, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.
The DA had written to Speaker Thandi Modise to ask that the National Assembly schedule a question session with Mkhize, DA health spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said.
The official opposition party has in recent days stepped up pressure on the government to release more figures about efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the modelling that informs cabinet’s decision-making.
Gwarube said it appeared that government was silent on some of the data at its disposal for “fear of causing public panic”.
“This reasoning does little to inspire public confidence or promote transparency and accountability. Sharing the data and the modelling that the government is using to make key interventions in dealing with this crisis ensures that the public remains a partner in the fight against Covid-19 and will undoubtedly mean we will beat this together.”
The DA has launched applications under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain both the minutes of the ministerial counsel pertaining to lockdown regulations, and additional information from provincial health departments on testing statistics.
The latter came after health authorities in KwaZulu-Natal argued that some of data was classified.
The number of confirmed infections in the country at the weekend passed the 10 000 mark, but medical experts have cautioned that this is not the true figure because there has not been sufficient testing in all provinces.
African News Agency (ANA)
By ANA reporter