Durban - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has praised Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for driving campaigns that helped him to quit cigarettes and alcohol.
Nzimande made the comment on Thursday when he was addressing the media during his visit to the Umgungundlovu TVET College in Pietermaritzburg as part of his nationwide drive to check on institutions of higher learning’s state of readiness to comply with regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
He said Dlamini Zuma started similar campaigns, despite huge opposition, when she was still the Health Minister.
“It might have taken a bit longer because of some people like us, but I stopped smoking in 2012 because of this ongoing campaign that was ringing in our ears.
“I am very proud of it because I am feeling much better,” he said.
He said it was very important that the government intensified the campaign against smoking and should do the “same with alcohol”.
“I stopped drinking in 2018... it can be done as I am an example,” he said.
The alcohol ban was lifted when level 3 regulations came into effect.
Dlamini Zuma had recently been criticised for announcing that the sale of cigarettes would remain banned under level 4 of the Covid-19 lockdown. She made this announcement soon after President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced that the ban on the sale of cigarettes would be lifted.
Ramaphosa later said Dlamini Zuma had his full backing and that the decision to uphold the ban on cigarettes was not hers alone.
Nzimande said Covid-19 has exposed society to the need to stop smoking.
“As a government, we need a heightened campaign against smoking and alcohol abuse.
“It looks like the level of alcohol abuse in our society is abnormally high,” he said.
He said apart from the stringent measures that the government had taken against cigarette and alcohol use during the lockdown,there would be a need to intensify the campaign beyond Covid-19.
“Beyond Covid-19 we may maintain the stringent measures but also we need education to accompany this.
“We need a huge, huge campaign against these two things (cigarettes and alcohol), but we won’t win this campaign on our own, and we will need to forge a partnership in society,” said Nzimande.IOL