Social media users are calling for the arrest of Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane for violating Covid-19 regulations by not wearing a mask in public.
Mtsweni-Tsipane was captured on national TV without any face covering on Sunday during the funeral of the late minister Jackson Mthembu. Video clips and images circulated on social media, drawing massive public condemnation.
“My take is the premier of Mpumalanga is used to not following Covid-19 protocols. She is used to not wearing a mask and has always got away with it. Kanti, she will do it at a wrong place at a wrong time. I don’t think it was her first time. She must face the music,” tweeted Cecilia Mthwane.
In one of the videos circulating on social media, deputy president David Mabuza can be seen seemingly signalling to the premier to wear a mask.
Mpumalanga premier Issa liar, she just didn’t want to cramp her style with a mask. Here 👇🏿 she had it in hand & DD even tried to get her to comply. @SAPoliceService must just arrest her all else… pic.twitter.com/dE4VHxgCAZ
— Moafrika 👨❤️👨👩❤️👩👨👨👦☀️🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️ (@T_Boi_SA) January 24, 2021
Her office issued an apology for what it called a brief moment when Mtsweni-Tsipane was without her mask.
“Upon arrival at the cemetery and disembarking from her vehicle, the premier’s mask was somehow damaged and she was oblivious of that when it fell. She thought it was intact as it was the case throughout the proceedings.
“The premier’s aides promptly sought a replacement mask which the premier utilised for the rest of the proceedings,” her office said.
Police minister Bheki Cele expressed concern about the “alleged conduct” of the premier. He called for an investigation into the matter and cautioned South Africans against flouting Covid-19 regulations.
“If SA wants to beat this invisible enemy which is Covid-19, we simply can’t let our guard down. This is why I have spoken to the national commissioner of the police, Gen Khehla Sitole to look into the matter of the premier. An investigation must be conducted and necessary action must be taken,” the minister said on Sunday.
Here are some reactions on social media to the moemish:
That premier of Mpumalanga was at the funeral to be SEEN. That is why she isn’t wearing a mask, how dare she hides her pretty face when she has to put on a show, smiles, waves and hugs.
— November Child (@motshabi_P) January 24, 2021
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) January 24, 2021
Bheki Cele calls for immediate arrest of Mpumalanga Premier for breaking covid mask protocols.
She’s an ANC member. And besides she didn’t realise her mask fell off. ✊🏾
— Maik ‘o Jai 🇿🇦 🇹🇭 (@mikegbaines) January 24, 2021
In a normal democracy where the fight against Covid-19 is taken seriously, this Premier would be recalled immediately. She’s got Donald Trump tendencies. Attending a Covid-19 funeral without wearing a mask!! #JacksoMthembuFuneral pic.twitter.com/dBQNnR2YBs
— Bra Hloni (@HonourableHloni) January 24, 2021
— Manie Kriel (@maniephw) January 24, 2021
Worcester man sjambokked for not wearing mask. Pretoria man arrested for buying baby’s milk during curfew. Mpumalanga premier walks around freely without a mask at, wait for it, an official funeral! I’m done….
— Jonathan Jansen (@JJ_Stellies) January 25, 2021