AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
REFILWE Mtsweni-Tsipane, the Premier of South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province, has landed herself in hot water after she was spotted not wearing a mask in public, an act in violation of the law.
Her actions led to a stern rebuke from SA Police Minister Bheki Cele, who ordered an investigation into a violation of the by the Premier.
Minister Cele says the wearing of masks in public, is a 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,” Cele said.
General Cele used the incident to remind all South Africans that the wearing of a mask in public is mandatory for every person, under the adjusted alert Level 3 Lockdown regulations.
He warned that any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by a law enforcement officer, to wear a mask, commits an offence, and would, upon conviction, liable to a fine or a period of imprisonment, not exceeding six months or both.
Mtsweni-Tsipane conceded and apologised, saying that she did not wear a mask but said it was only for a short period.
“The Premier notes the images circulating on social media wherein the Premier is seen without a mask as prescribed by the state of disaster regulation aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19. Upon arrival at the cemetery and disembarking from her vehicle, the Premier’s mask was damaged and the Premier was oblivious of the fact that it had fallen off. The Premier was of the belief that the mask was intact as had been the case throughout the proceedings The Premier’s aides promptly sought a replacement mask which the Premier utilized for the rest of the proceedings.”