Footage of President Cyril Ramaphosa taking a walk and interacting with members of the public on Sunday morning has divided opinion after a clip of the incident, shot in Rosebank, Johannesburg, went viral.
In the footage, Ramaphosa can be seen without many bodyguards taking in some air. He is approached for a selfie with two women and obliges, getting quite close to both of them in the process.
The women could apparently be heard telling Ramaphosa: “Good morning Mr President, we love you!”, according to Sowetan editor Nwabisa Makunga, who posted the video.
They initially greeted using their elbows, as advised, but then got even closer together for their photo.
One of the women had initially looked like she’d wanted to shake his hand, but Ramaphosa instead offered his elbow, saying: “Come … before we get arrested,” and further joking with the women.
Since the government has asked South Africans to avoid contact with people outside their own households, many on Twitter have accused the president of talking the Covid talk while ignoring it on his morning walk.
However, others have praised him for remaining approachable and charming, and not even needing the normal army of bodyguards former South African presidents have walked around with.
Makunga said the president actually did have four bodyguards in the vicinity, and he had also taken a selfie with the third woman in the footage.
— Nwabisa Makunga (@nwabisa_mak) May 17, 2020
I think he must go and test… There's something with this visual..
— KIIDD (@Jasonjaybala) May 17, 2020
That was ridiculously reckless move by Ramaphosa
— Teddy Whylin (@WyzeeQue) May 17, 2020
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)