People accused of wrongdoing should not be held accountable while in quarantine as their immune system might not be able to handle the stress, resulting in them dying.
This was the shocking call made by Eastern Cape co-operative governance & traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqatha during a virtual memorial service of the late Buffalo City Metro speaker, Alfred Mtsi, in East London on Wednesday.
Mtsi, 69, died from Covid-19 complications at Life Beacon Bay hospital on Sunday morning.
Addressing mourners from the East London City Hall, Nqatha — who is meant to promote clean and good governance — made the bizarre call, saying those facing disciplinary action would be stressed, resulting in weakened immune systems, which in turn would make them vulnerable to the coronavirus.
“The challenges of this coronavirus do not require a stressed cadreship, for that weakens the immune system. That is why if you’re contemplating to discipline anyone who must be held accountable for wrongdoing, if that person is in quarantine because he is ill, don’t act against that person.
“It’s un-ANC, it’s not comradely. Let’s not treat each other that way. It’s against the spirit of comrade Mtsi. Let’s mourn him and pay tribute to him by treating each other better and being comradely to one another.
“You take action against anyone who is quarantined, that person is stressed, his immune system cannot fight the virus — that person dies. Then I come here and cry crocodile tears. Part of the renewal is to rethink how we treat each other in the name of comrade Mtsi,” Nqatha said.
BCM deputy mayor Zoliswa Matana described Mtsi as the last of a dying breed of ANC leaders, saying he was incorruptible and had always lived within his means.
Speaker after speaker spoke fondly of Mtsi, describing him as having played a big role in uniting warring ANC factions in the Dr WB Rubusana region and as always being the voice of reason.
Matana said Mtsi had created stability between ANC factions within BCM.
“We have lost someone who was innocent and incorruptible.
“He stood up for the principles of the ANC to change people’s lives; for peace and stability within the organisation.
“He was never accused of stealing from the poor, and he never associated himself with thieves and people who loot from the government in the name of the ANC.
“He lived within his means, unlike others who steal while millions in BCM go to bed hungry,” she charged.
Mtsi was redeployed to BCM as mayor in 2016 from the legislature with his then deputy Xola Pakati, who is now mayor, as a way of creating stability in the metro.
Matana described Mtsi as a “disciplined and humble” comrade.
She said it was his serving nature that had made him a Covid-19 victim.
“His character has made him a victim of Covid-19 because he could not sit down and keep quiet while things fell apart.
“He is a victim today because he sacrificed himself to serving.
“He attended the office every day. From 8am to 5pm he was in the office consulting and communicating with the residents of BCM.
“He lived for helping those in need.”
Mtsi is the third BCM ANC councillor to die in July, after Zukiswa Mankayi and Gideon Norexe.
The service was attended by under 50 people at the East London City Hall in adherence with national lockdown regulations.
Mtsi’s brother Sipho became emotional when he spoke about his brother, and mourners sang while he regained his composure.
When he could speak, Sipho said: “He spoke the truth in the family and in the organisation [ANC].
“He lived for the ANC. He was very humble.”
Mourners also held a drive-past to pay their respects to the former unionist, leaving flowers outside his Greenfields home.
He will be laid to rest on Friday in East London, with his final service to be held at the Robbie de Lange Hall in Greenfields.