Mpumalanga premier admits guilt, pays fine for not wearing mask

Mpumalanga premier admits guilt, pays fine for not wearing mask

The Premier of Mpumalanga has issued a second apology for temporarily walking around without a mask at Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu’s funeral in Emalahleni over the weekend.

Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane says she has also deposited a statement of guilt at the Vosman Police Station and has accepted the necessary fine.

“I have since reflected deeply on this momentarily lapse, which I regret profusely. I wish to take this opportunity once again  apologise to His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Deputy President of the Republic Mr David Mabuza, the Mthembu family, the people of Mpumalanga and the rest of the country. I should have known better as a public figure and more so attending a Covid-19 funeral,” she says.

The Premier had initially claimed not to have realised that her mask had fallen off.

As a sign of remorse, Mtsweni-Tsipane says she has also bought 1 000 masks that will be distributed in Emalahleni as part of public education and awareness campaign to demonstrate the serious nature of COVID-19.

“I have also taken a decision to go into isolation for a period of 14 days,” she says.

Some South Africans, however, believe harsher action is needed.

The Premier’s spokesperson has also taken some heat from the saga.

South Africans are angry that she went on news platforms to defend the maskless Premier who was seen hugging a police officer at the funeral.

Cele orders a probe into premier’s mask gaffe

Cele orders a probe into premier’s mask gaffe

The Premier of Mpumalanga had many South Africans hot on the collar for violating lockdown level 3 regulations.

She was seen not wearing a mask at the funeral service of Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has, nonetheless, apologised for the blunder.

She says her mask was damaged upon arriving at the cemetery and when she got off her car she was not aware that it had fallen off.

“The Premier was of the opinion that the mask was intact as had been the case throughout the proceedings,” a statement from her office says.

She has urged Mpumalanga residents to constantly wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitise or wash hands frequently.

Cope wants her fired and while her political home, the ANC, has welcomed her apology – the Police Minister isn’t having it.

Minister Bheki Cele says wearing of a mask under the COVID-19 level 3 lockdown in South Africa is non-negotiable.

“If South Africa wants to beat this invisible enemy which is COVID-19, we simply can’t let down our guard. This is why I have spoken to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service General Khehla Sitole to look into the matter of the Premier and an investigation must be conducted and necessary action must be taken,” he says.

A person convicted of violating the Disaster Management Act is liable to a fine or at least six months imprisonment.