The ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have come under sharp criticism for allegedly politicising the fight against the spread of Covid-19 by manufacturing and distributing face masks with the colours and logos of the parties.
The two parties have been asked to ban and recall their masks from the public domain.
The Change Party and the Congress of the People lashed out at the move, saying this was the politicisation of the deadly virus by the two parties.
Change president Lesiba Molokomme expressed disappointment at the DA and ANC for politicising Covid-19 by allowing the manufacturing of masks with their logos and colours.
“This is no time for political point-scoring. People are dying and it’s ill-conceived that these two major parties should take advantage of this. We call on them to ban the distribution of and to recall those shameful masks,” Molokomme said.
He said the DA and ANC move had become a metaphor of the two “viruses” the two parties had infected the country with – corruption and lack of interest in redressing the historical racial imbalances in the country.
Cope national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the politicisation of the deadly virus must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
“It is disgusting and shameful to see that political parties such as the ANC and the DA allow people to produce face masks in their colours and emblems. We will not be surprised if these shameless political parties gave their blessing to these business people to produce these masks. It will be a sad day if some heartless people in society see the opportunity to make money out of the suffering of the people,” Bloem said.
DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed that the party was aware of the masks with party insignia that were used in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. But he said the members were acting out of their goodwill to help the communities who could not afford masks.
He stressed that the masks were only used by local members and not commissioned by the DA.
“Those masks were meant to help towards providing protective gear to individuals who may not have the resources or the equipment to make their own masks. It is important that at this time those with the means to help others are encouraged to do so,” Malatsi said.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte condemned the use of the ANC name and insignia by individual businesspeople who sold masks as part of the fight against the spread of Covid 19.
She said the move was against unity forged by various political parties to fight the pandemic.
“We are making an appeal to those private sector individuals not to abuse the ANC emblem. And also we are asking the ANC membership to understand that Covid-19 affects everyone, irrespective of the political party you may belong to,” she said.
“We cannot be selling masks that have political emblems on them and hoping that people will support the private sector in this regard. This flies in the face of the unity that is being forged in fighting against Covid-19. We urge these people not to sell masks with the ANC’s emblem on it.”
Bloem said Cope hoped that the ANC and the DA did not approve the manufacturing of the masks.
“We are in a war with a dangerous enemy, [which] does not discriminate against any party political affiliation, whether one belongs to Cope, ANC, DA, [Economic Freedom Fighters] or any other political party,” Bloem said.
He called on President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the ANC president, and DA interim leader John Steenhuisen to condemn and distance themselves from the distribution of such masks by their parties.