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DA lays criminal charges against Zikalala after KZN Freedom Day event

The premier "utilised the occasion to appreciate and motivate the frontline staff ... in the fight against the spread of COVID-19", said the KZN government.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala at the memorial service of Dr Joseph Shabalala in Ladysmith. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday laid a criminal complaint against KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala for allegedly contravening the lockdown regulations.

The premier led a Freedom Day commemoration at the Clairwood Hospital in Durban on Monday where he apparently pulled out essential workers from their duties and held a mini rally.

The DA's Dianne Kohler-Barnard laid the complaint at the Clairwood Police Station earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, the provincial government says the event was in honour of frontline workers battling to contain the spread of COVID-19, and has dismissed the DA's claims, calling it "fake news".

"The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal notes with dismay the statement by the Democratic Alliance alleging that it had organised a rally," it said on Monday through a statement.

"The premier conducted an inspection in loco to assess the progress the province is making in ensuring that facilities are ready for quarantine and isolation. During the visit the premier also handed over thousands of N95 masks, which are a crucial part of Personal Protective Equipment being given to all frontline staff," the statement said.

"He then utilised the occasion to appreciate and motivate the frontline staff who are manning the forward trenches in the fight against the spread of COVID-19."

The KZN government also said the premier did not contravene any regulations..

"This engagement in no way qualifies as a rally contemplated in section one (1) of the regulation in that it was not sporting, entertainment, recreational, religious or for cultural purposes," the statement said.