Mpumalanga premier admits guilt, pays fine after failing to wear mask at funeral
DURBAN - Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni has deposited a statement of guilt at the Vosman Police Station in Emalahleni after she was called out for not wearing a mask during a funeral service at the weekend.
Mtsweni has further written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, expressing her regret of the situation, bought 1000 masks to be distributed in Emalahleni and will go into isolation for two weeks.
In a statement issued by her office, Mtsweni acknowledged that as a public figure, she should have known better. She added that she has accepted the necessary fine associated with failing to wear a mask.
"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," she said.
Mtsweni faced massive backlash on social media after she was seen without a face mask at the during the official funeral of Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, on Sunday.
The outcry of the Premier's failure to wear a mask while the country was currently in a second wave of the coronavirus prompted Police Minister Bheki Cele to order a probe into her behaviour.
"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 down," Cele said.
He added that he had 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.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance is calling on Cele to arrest Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni.
In a tweet posted on Monday, the DA said, "It is ridiculous that Bheki Cele has called for an investigation into the Mpumalanga Premier's failure to wear a mask. Had this been an ordinary citizen, they would have already been arrested without investigation. NO to preferential treatment for cadres!"