Social media users are calling on the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to arrest Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, or erase the criminal records of all people who were arrested for not wearing masks.
This after Mtsweni-Tsipane was captured on national TV violating Covid-19 regulations by not wearing a mask in public on Sunday during the funeral of the late minister Jackson Mthembu.
South Africans took to Twitter to call on Cele to arrest Mtsweni-Tsipane or consider erasing criminal records of all those who had violated lockdown regulations, including those who broke curfew for valid reasons.
One user reminded the minister that these were very serious charges as funerals were deemed as super-spreader events and as leaders, they should lead by example.
— Yummy ⚪️ (@fanafr) January 25, 2021
They said that Cele made a public announcement that if anyone was found without a face mask, they could face jail time of six months or be liable for a fine.
One user said that since the premier apologised for not wearing a mask to the funeral, then everyone who was arrested on the same charges should be given an opportunity to apologise and all would be forgiven.
Cele revealed in December that police had arrested more than 342,000 people since the beginning of the lockdown, with thousands of them now having criminal records.
If the Mpumalanga premier don’t get arrested for not wearing mask,
— M S I V A N A ???? (@SiveXaluva) January 25, 2021
Since Mme Refilwe simply apologized for not wearing a mask to a funeral then the people who were arrested for not wearing a makes must also apologize and be let go even those who got criminal records must just apologize. We are all equal, right!?
— Kat lee (@kat_the_maw) January 25, 2021
Tweeps said that Cele clearly showed double standards and reminded him of Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was fined R1000 for breaching lockdown regulations.
Ndabeni was ordered to appear in the Pretoria District Court on 22 May 2020 to pay the fine as an admission of guilt, though numerous reports state that she had already paid the fine after admitting guilt.
The Presidency announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa had placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months – one month of which would be unpaid.
According to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane, the minister now had a criminal record. The admission of guilt fine was determined by the senior magistrate for the magisterial district of Tshwane. The amount of R1000 was set for the offence of failing to confine oneself to one’s place of residence without a valid reason for leaving one’s home.
Tweeps said that there wasn’t any need for an investigation because videos of the premier parading without a mask were circulating on social media and with so much evidence around, an investigation was unnecessary.
Another user said that as long as Mtsweni-Tsipane was not arrested, no one should be arrested
Four wrong things in one pic:
— Chief Erican (@EricanSA) January 25, 2021
— A K H O N A ???????? (@dollar_mashesha) January 25, 2021