- Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane was caught not wearing a mask while attending the funeral of Jackson Mthembu over the weekend.
- She has since apologised and admitted guilt by paying a fine.
- Previously, the premier’s office, said Mtsweni-Tsipane’s mask was damaged and she was oblivious to the fact that it had fallen off.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, who was caught not wearing a mask in public, has admitted guilt by paying a fine.
Mtsweni-Tsipane was captured on TV not wearing a mask in public at the funeral of former Minister Jackson Mthembu, who died last week of Covid-19 complications.
Mtsweni-Tsipane had apologised for the incident.
According to the premier’s office, Mtsweni-Tsipane’s mask was damaged and she was oblivious to 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,” her office said.
Her aides found a replacement mask, which Mtsweni-Tsipane used for the rest of the proceedings, the premier’s office added.
However, on Monday evening, Mtsweni-Tsipane announced that she had visited Vosman Police Station in Emalahleni where she deposed a statement of guilt and accepted the fine.
“I should have known better as a public figure and more so attending a Covid-19 funeral,” she said.
“I have also written a letter to the president of the republic expressing my regret of the situation.”
She added that she would demonstrate her remorse by purchasing 1 000 masks which will be distributed in Emalahleni as part of a public education and awareness campaign to demonstrate the serious nature of Covid-19.
“I wish to take this opportunity to express my condolences to all the families who have lost their loved one(s) to the pandemic. I also wish those who are currently struggling with the virus a speedy recovery.
“I have also taken a decision to go into isolation for a period of 14 days.”
On Sunday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele had called for an investigation into the matter.
“If South Africa wants to beat this invisible enemy which is Covid-19, we simply can’t let down our guard down,” Cele said in a statement.
Cele reminded South Africans that the wearing of a mask is mandatory for every person, under the adjusted alert Level 3 Lockdown regulations.
However, not wearing a mask only becomes a punishable offence if any person fails to comply with a verbal instruction by a law enforcement officer, to wear a mask as per the Disaster Management Act regulations.
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