The letter comes after the national corona virus command council briefing on Thursday.
In the letter, Gareth said although he did not agree with some of the lock down rules, he was going to give the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cog ta) the respect she deserved.
He said he doesn’t see the “villain” many in the country have painted the minister to be, but instead sees a strong woman who was misunderstood.
Gareth said for her age, Dlamini-Zuma was not “commanding from a distance”, and she has overcome a great deal of adversity.
“Minister, I see a woman who is directly in the vulnerable age group and who has put herself on the front line, not someone commanding from a safe distance. Most people your age are retired and relaxing at home. I see someone who appears, to me, to be trying her level best to navigate uncharted territory, just like all of us.
“You said government has made mistakes and asked for our patience and support, and that isn’t asking much.
“I see someone who has overcome a great deal of adversity and male chauvinism, not to mention nastiness from a public who like to cast you as the villain. I feel it is time for us to find ways to be less destructive and more collaborative.”
He then went on to outline what he did not agree with the minister about, saying he and Dlamini-Zuma do not share much common ground on some of the bans, including the ban on the sale of tobacco products.
“I shouldn’t have to say this, but if I don’t people will think I’m a traitor to my principles. There are a great many things you and I disagree on — the tobacco ban, the liquor ban, the curfew. In fact, I have been against the lock down from the start.
“I think it has done enormous damage to us, and to many other nations. Nobody will find themselves immune from this unprecedented situation, and the costs are mounting.
“No doubt some will interpret this letter as an about-turn, and just like the group who had a problem with my letter to the president, I don’t care if they don’t like me after this one,” said Gareth.
He said the only best thing to come out of the lock down was the release of the Dlamini-Zuma Zol song.
Read the full letter below:
— Gareth Cliff (@GarethCliff) May 29, 2020