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Sol mayor still waiting for test results

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Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo underwent a Covid-19 test on Thursday last week

Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo. File picture

AFTER being tested more than a week ago, Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo has stated that he has still not received the results of his Covid-19 test.

Mabilo’s office at the Civic Centre remains closed and his staff are said to be working from home, after the mayor underwent a Covid-19 test on Thursday last week.

While attempts to contact his spokesperson, Persome Oliphant, proved unsuccessful on Thursday, Mabilo urged the media “to just relax” when questioned if he had received his results.

“I have indicated that I will make my results known once I receive them,” Mabilo said.

Oliphant stated on Friday last week that Mabilo had gone for a Covid-19 test because he was not feeling well. “He made the decision that it was best to be tested.”

She said that he had not been into his office at the Civic Centre since Wednesday last week, when he started to feel unwell.

“His office is currently closed and will remain closed until his results have been received and then a decision will be made on the way forward,” Oliphant said.

“The mayor has indicated that he will make his results known to the public once he receives them,” she added.

She also confirmed that another councillor had also gone for Covid-19 swabs and was awaiting his results.

Meanwhile, the DA in the Northern Cape has condemned what it called “the irresponsible behaviour of Sol Plaatje mayor Patrick Mabilo, who is believed to have attended an ordinary council meeting whilst under suspicion of being infected with Covid-19”.

The DA caucus leader in the Sol Plaatje City Council, Christopher Phiri, said that it was public knowledge that Mabilo had gone for a coronavirus test on Thursday, July 2, after not feeling well.

“The DA has it on good authority that while a very close contact of Mabilo received a positive Covid-19 diagnosis on Monday, June 29, 2020, Mabilo proceeded to attend a council meeting the very next day (Tuesday, June 30), knowing full well that there was a strong likelihood that he may also have been infected with the virus. In addition to this, the Speaker, who was well aware of the situation, tacitly approved Mabilo’s attendance at the council meeting, failing to inform fellow councillors of the added risk of attending the meeting, or alternatively instructing the mayor not to attend, or rather to attend virtually,” said Phiri.

He pointed out that a “responsible leader would have immediately self-isolated and avoided contact with councillors and staff members, who he should be trying to protect, not infect”.

“The DA considers the non-disclosure of possible Covid-19 infections in a very serious light and we have written to the Speaker, Ingrid Koopman, expressing our outrage at what transpired on the 30th June 2020,” Phiri added.

“Given the ongoing risk that coronavirus presents, coupled with the fact that Sol Plaatje leadership has again proven itself unable to lead in the best interests of its staff members and councillors, the DA has, for the time being, taken a decision not to attend any contact or face-to-face meetings of Sol Plaatje Municipality. We are further requesting a certificate confirming decontamination of the City Hall, council chambers and any other areas deemed to be a working area for councillors.”

Phiri stated further that the party wished to remind fellow councillors, officials and members of the public that, in terms of the president’s specific set of regulations that were enacted under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 on March 18, 2020, a person can be held criminally liable if he she knew that he/she has contracted the Covid-19 virus and intentionally exposes someone else to the virus. “Such person might be criminally charged for assault, attempted murder or even murder.

“We appeal to everyone, including individuals, managers and leaders, to act responsibly at all times. Everyone needs to change their behaviour and strive to create safer working and living conditions, not aggravate the raging Covid-19 through recklessness.”

At a media briefing on Wednesday, the acting HOD of the Department of Health, Dr Dion Theys, stated that “to date there have been no cases in the Province of a politician who has tested positive”.

He added that community stigmatisation was out of the department’s control “but we are appealing to all our people to come out clearly because there are also people that they have been in contact with, who need to to be traced and followed up”.

Theys indicated that the provincial government would follow the lead of the North West, where the premier had tested positive, while Cogta MEC Gordon Kegakilwe died due to a serious illness after being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

“What is important is that we make our society aware that Covid-19 is a reality. We must live with it, but it is also a deadly virus. We need to be responsible and take charge of our lives,” Theys said.