Cele wants probe into Mpumalanga premier for not wearing mask at Jackson Mthembu funeral

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Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane.
Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane.
City Press
  • Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has apologised after she was captured on camera not wearing a mask in public.
  • Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane was attending the funeral of Jackson Mthembu at the time.
  • According to the premier's office, Mtsweni-Tsipane's mask was damaged and she was oblivious to the fact that it had fallen off. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele has called for an investigation into Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, who was captured on TV not wearing a mask in public.

She was seen not wearing a mask at the funeral of Jackson Mthembu, who died last week of Covid-19 complications.

Cele's office said in a statement that wearing masks during the pandemic was a "non-negotiable"

"If South Africa wants to beat this invisible enemy which is Covid-19, we simply can't let down our guard down. 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," a statement read.

The statement continued: "Any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by a law enforcement officer to wear a mask, commits an offence, and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine or a period of imprisonment, not exceeding six months or both."

Mtsweni-Tsipane apologised earlier 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. 

READ| 'I have lost a dear friend' - Cyril Ramaphosa says goodbye to Jackson Mthembu

"The premier was of the belief that the mask was intact, as had been the case throughout the proceedings."

Her aides found a replacement mask, which Mtsweni-Tsipane used for the rest of the proceedings, her office said.

Mtsweni-Tsipane emphasised the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 regulations and continued to urge the people  of Mpumalanga to constantly wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitise or wash hands frequently, it said.

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