News | Opinion
When Jackson Mthembu was laid to rest, having succumbed to the virus that has held us hostage for almost a year, the send-off of a great man and stalwart of the struggle was marred by the song and dance of “where is your mask?”
This is a tale of two cities: how measures to prevent the spread of the virus are applied differently in affluent areas and in those in proximity to poverty.
The application of the law is seemingly not equal. From the use of excessive force by the army and the passive tone of law
enforcement on beaches, to the arrest of a parent wanting to buy baby formula after the curfew.
Or the call for an investigation into a provincial leader who appeared in public without a mask, even at a Covid-19 victim’s funeral.
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We’ve seen the different faces of the law. We’ve been spoken to like children, reminded of the curfew and to be in bed by 9pm by the minister of police, whether in jest or not.
We’ve seen the same minister on beaches being cordially understanding about why masks were not on.
In all this confusion, with our president reminding us to play our part, wear masks and keep social distancing…in comes premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane.
Covid’s devastation is impossible to ignore. We have heard the pleas of medical staff and funeral parlours have spoken of the strain in keeping up with burying those who have succumbed to the virus.
But if you show your defiance in the presence of His Excellency – is it bravery or plain stupidity?
We are told the mask must have slipped off unnoticed. Why was Mtsweni-Tsipane able to glide through without being stopped?
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It speaks of the liberties that certain members of our society have allowed themselves.
May this be a wake-up call to our government, not just about masks but also good leadership.
Do not tell the public not to loot and steal while abusing state funds; do not tell us to comply with the law then bend it at every opportunity; do not speak of nepotism when state employees in positions of power bear the surnames of your kin.
Do not lead if you cannot be exemplary.
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