Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has caused an uproar for not wearing a mask at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral.
Mthembu died on Thursday from Covid-19 complications and was laid to rest in his hometown of Emalahleni in Mpumalanga on Sunday.
Mtsweni-Tsipane, along with other ANC leaders, attended the funeral. However, she has been highly criticised for not wearing a mask.
While the premier wore a mask inside the hall, where she paid tribute to Mthembu, video footage shows her not wearing her mask outside.
This is the funeral of Cde Jackson Mthembu who lost his life to this dreadful virus. He who was at the forefront cajoling and encouraging society to comply with COVID-19 safety measures. Why is the Premier of MPumalanga province not wearing a mask? Where is law enforcement? pic.twitter.com/oGJeADCsNH
— @lupingcayisa (@lupingcayisa) January 24, 2021
In the video, she can be seen greeting people and hugging others, which has left people calling for her to be dealt with.
Responding to the outrage, the Premier said she was not aware that her mask had fallen off. She has apologised for the incident, and further called on people to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
“Upon arrival at the cemetery and disembarking from her vehicle, the Premier’s mask was damaged and the Premier was oblivious of 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. The Premier’s aides promptly sought a replacement mask which the Premier utilised for the rest of the proceedings.
“The Premier has extended an apology to the people of Mpumalanga for that momentary lapse wherein her mask fell without her being aware or conscious of it,” she said in a statement.