Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says claims she dictates orders on which sectors get banned or re-opened were untrue and disingenuous.
Dlamini Zuma gave details on amended regulations for level 2 of the risk-adjusted lockdown which come into effect at midnight on Monday.
As part of the amended regulations, tobacco and alcohol sales will be permitted.
These were some of the most contentious issues regarding the lockdown with tobacco sales being banned since March.
Tobacco companies, Fita and BAT, approached the courts pushing for the bans to be lifted. Both cases remain contested in court.
When asked how she felt when she was branded the enemy behind the push for the tobacco sale ban to remain, Dlamini Zuma said these accusations were not true as she forms part of the collective.
She said debates on issues do take place, but the final decision taken by the government were part of a collective.
She added she has no such powers but has the responsibility to sign regulations which are put in place.
“What we do is to tell the courts the rationale for taking the decision and the evidence which we based that decision. We have taken very rational decisions and we have used available evidence.
“People are giving me too much credit I do not deserve. I am part of a collective in government. I think they are just giving me too much credit and shortchanging the government and the president. Everyone puts their views and at the end of the day what is decided is decided by the team,” the minister said.
“Yes, in the end, I am the one that signs. To pretend that it is just my decision is disingenuous. I guess some people find it easier to find a scapegoat.”
On whether the bans on alcohol and tobacco may be re-introduced in future, the minister said it was too early to decide.
On policing of whether citizens obeyed the limited visitation numbers and whether there was enough police capacity for such, Dlamini Zuma said citizens had to take precaution and could not rely on police vigilance to ensure compliance.
When the risk-adjusted strategy was first introduced in April, President Cyril Ramaphosa had indicated some districts which were deemed high risk would likely face harsher lockdown levels to contain the spread of the virus.
Dlamini Zuma explained the government had decided not to implement a risk-based district approach as this would pose challenges as some people were living in one area while working in another.
She did not rule out the strategy in future.