A top South African official is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after she attended a funeral service of a colleague who died of COVID-19 without a facemask.
Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane was the subject of online trolls after she appeared in the funeral service of the late minister in the presidency, Jackson Mthembu, without a facemask.
The premiere showed up without wearing a mask, and she seemed jovial upon her arrival even going to hug some of the attendees.
To make matters worse, she was attending a funeral for someone who died of COVID-19 complications.
This is against the country’s guidelines and protocols against COVID-19 where everyone is required to don a facemask in public places. She appeared to flout the rules which was deemed ‘inappropriate’ by a section of South Africans.
Police have since called for an investigation into the incident.
The premier’s office has come out with an explanation stating that it noted the images circulating on social media of her without a face mask and said that it was a temporary glitch which was promptly resolved.
“The premier’s aides promptly sought a replacement mask, which the premier utilized for the rest of the proceedings”, they stated.
Ironically, Mtsweni-Tsipane went on to stress on the importance of adhering to the COVID-19 regulations and urged the public to constantly wear masks, practice social distancing and sanitize or wash hands frequently.
Furthermore, she extended her “sincere apologies to the people of Mpumalanga and the country for that brief moment wherein her mask fell without her being aware or conscious of it”.
South Africans are not buying into her apology and explanation. A video of Mtsweni-Tsipane holding her mask as she goes to the podium has surfaced. Another attendee, Deputy President David Mabuza, is seen gesturing to Mtsweini to put her mask on.
Here in Kenya, the script is the same. Kenyans are being told to strictly adhere to COVID-19 protocols as leaders openly disregard them.
Political leaders have been attending rallies without wearing face masks themselves.