I am obligated to seek consequences over Somizi lockdown joke, says Fikile Mbalula
Cape Town - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday he was obligated to seek consequences over Somizi Mhlongo over his lockdown joke.
Mbalula spoke to the media outside the Sandton Police Station on Friday shortly after he laid a charge against the TV personality for alleged contravention of the government's lockdown rules.
According to an earlier tweet, Mbalula wants Somizi to be charged with Contravening Government Lockdown Regulations as published under the Disaster Management Act on fake news peddling and misinformation peddling.
Mbalula said that while he and Mhlongo are friends "we must never give the impression that we mix business with pleasure and that we discuss Cabinet issues at will and that we brief members of society about what government could be saying."
Mbalula tweeted that he is "o
bligated by statutes, policies and regulations of Parliament and Government to take action and seek consequences management over matters where my name is name dropped, more especially regarding cabinet decisions.
"Even before this, Somizi has been part of social responsibility. Which is a job I think he should continue to do," Mbalula said.
The minister added that Mhlongo "could have used President Cyril Ramaphosa or anybody's (name). It is in his nature. He even predicted Miss Universe. So I don't know if the guy is a sangoma."
This comes after Somizi, in an Instagram live video with Metro FM colleague Dineo Ranaka, claimed that Mbalula had told him Ramaphosa would extend the nationwide lockdown.
The video sparked an outcry on social media.
Somizi has since taken to Instagram to deny that he had spoken to Mbalula and admitted his bombshell was just a joke. He has also apologised.
Mbalula denied the alleged interaction and said he had spoken to Somizi about the effects of the badly timed joke.
When the lockdown was announced regulations gazetted state that "any person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about:
Covid-19 infection status of any person; or
Any measure taken by the government to address Covid-19, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment."