Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga was on the scene this morning in the aftermath of the horrific train accident that took place in Mountain View, Pretoria, on Tuesday morning.
Three people were killed and, reportedly, more than 600 injured in the crash.
While the mayor issued heartfelt condolences to the families of those who passed away, some on Twitter noticed that in one picture, Msimanga is seen smiling and possibly joking around with a police officer.
“On the scene of this morning’s train accident at the Mountain View Station. It is confirmed that four people have passed on, our heartfelt condolences to the families,” Msimanga tweeted.
Some on Twitter, however, voiced criticism at the choice of pic to go with the above caption. The tweet was subsequently deleted.
On the scene of this morning's train accident at the Mountain View Station. It is confirmed that 4 people have passed on, our heartfelt condolences to the families. pic.twitter.com/wjm451Z2jI
— Solly Msimanga (@SollyMsimanga) January 8, 2019
Some questioned why the mayor is seen “laughing”.
And why are you laughing?
— Khumbudzo (@Khumbu_M) January 8, 2019
I see that you laughing with that general how is that “heartfelt “ at the scene Nogal pic.twitter.com/ZYgSn6NU8w
— PholoMakhafola (@PholoMakhafola) January 8, 2019
why are you laughing though?????????
— Muhluri Cox Mabasa (@MuhluriCox) January 8, 2019
Is it because you’re also laughing? Sies,Don’t even answer me
— Gobetse ???????? (@G_Manchidi) January 8, 2019
And busy cracking jokes?
— Not Yet Uhuru (@NotYetUhuru1) January 8, 2019
Why u laughing Mr mayor you don't feel a thing for the people involved, can't wait for your term to end????
— khensani (@khensi215) January 8, 2019
Rich people laugh when poor die
— usman ijaz (@korophon) January 8, 2019
Not everyone agreed with the backlash to the picture.
I see so many asking why he laughing. …. really people. …. grow up
— michelle crawford (@shelleyrjc) January 8, 2019
Another user felt that this may have been an old picture and that it is the “media liaison person” rather than the mayor himself, who should be held accountable.
Yes probably old picture people are so quick to judge and media liasion person of mayor is negligent.
— wendy prins (@wbprins) January 8, 2019
Whoever is handling your tweeter account tell them to remove the picture where you are laughing. It comes across as insensitive.
— Kego Mokgoro (@KegoMM) January 8, 2019
At the scene of the accident, Msimanga said he had always raised concerns about the infrastructure of railway lines and their outdated resources.
“I don’t want to speculate about what happened this morning because they are still investigating. But I think there’s a need now to immediately have a meeting with Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa). We cannot lose any more lives, there needs to be some kind of upgrade in terms of signalling that is in here.”
Msimanga said he planned to meet with the families of the deceased.
(Additional reporting by ANA)