ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

ACDP leader still trying to shake off Covid-19 stigma after false positive test claims

By Kenneth Mokgatlhe Time of article published May 17, 2020

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Johannesburg – African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) president Reverend Kenneth Meshoe has denied testing positive for Covid-19, accusing the Department of Health of using him as a guinea pig and “sacrificial lamb” in the politicisation of the pandemic.

In an interview with Sunday Independent last week, Meshoe claimed the results of his test in March were predetermined by an unnamed politician in a bid to use him to destigmatise the Covid-19.

In a statement released on March 27, ACDP deputy president Wayne Thring had announced Meshoe and party MP Steve Swart had tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a prayer breakfast in Bloemfontein, Free State, alongside international visitors who had tested positive.

Thring went on to explain Meshoe was tested by the health department on March 22, even though he did not display any symptoms and was in self-isolation.

While Swart and his wife had developed severe symptoms, Meshoe said he was still asymptomatic almost two months later.

Meshoe conceded to The Sunday Independent he did take a test after being part of the Bloemfontein church gathering but claimed the results were fiddled with.

“Remember at the time many black people believed the disease was meant for other racial groups, the politician came up with a strategy that would encourage black people to be cautious of the new virus,” Meshoe charged.

He maintained the fact that political leaders he later came into contact with, including (President Cyril) Ramaphosa, tested negative was “proof” he never tested positive for Covid-19 in the first place.

“Today is the 46th day (May 6) and I am still as healthy as I was last year this time.

“This is a kind of a mystery. Is it possible to be positive and not infect others?” asked Meshoe?

“Before receiving the results from the department, I told my family the outcome of the tests would be predetermined as ‘the politician’ was involved. I isolated myself for more than 21 days and still didn’t get any symptoms of Covid-19,” claimed Meshoe.

He further lamented the stigma associated with testing positive for Covid-19 had negatively affected his family, especially his son who has been discriminated against in public.

The National Department of Health this week declined to comment on Meshoe’s claims, citing the law governing the relationship between doctors and patients.

“By law, we are not allowed to speak on individual cases. We have a duty to respect people’s privacy,” said spokesperson Popo Maja.

Accusing journalists of spreading fake news about his results in the public, Meshoe said he was shocked when 24-hour news channel Newzrooom Afrika claimed in a March 22 news bulletin he had tested positive for the respiratory virus.

The channel retracted the story and apologised on social media via their Twitter account the following day. However, Moshoe has now threatened legal action against the channel and the journalist concerned.

Asked why he was only coming out with these claims almost two months after testing, Meshoe said he did not want to cast aspersions on the health department because they have been doing sterling work.

The ACDP leader and MP added people had confidence in the department, and he had wanted to raise his concerns post the lockdown.

Meshoe said although he did not feel ill, he would re-test privately so he could get a certificate that clears him officially.

“I will be able to take another test next week so I am able to do humanitarian services at church.

“I am not sick but I will retest to make sure members of the church also feel comfortable,” said Meshoe.

The Sunday Independent

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