The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to arrest and fine Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, following her failure to wear a mask.
The DA said that it was ridiculous for Minister of Police Bheki Cele to call for an investigation after the incident was broadcasted live on national television. This after Cele called for an investigation into Mtsweni-Tsipane’s conduct at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral.
The party said that this was a display of double standards because an ordinary citizen would have not been considered for investigation.
“We condemn the blatant double standards that is on display when it comes to the treatment of ordinary South Africans compared to the treatment of ANC cadres during this lockdown.
“Had this been an ordinary citizen, they would have already been arrested and fined, without any investigation,” said the DA in a statement.
Mtsweni-Tsipane was seen on national TV not wearing a mask in public, causing an uproar among South Africans, who criticised her for not adhering to Covid-19 regulations.
A statement from her office later said that 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 statement said.
The DA said Mtsweni-Tsipane must be subjected to the same treatment as any South African – she should be arrested and fined R1500, payable in her personal capacity.
“The weak excuse by the premier’s office that she did not notice her mask fell off is an insult to the intelligence of South Africans,” the statement read.
The parrty has also called for Mtsweni-Tsipane to appear before the Mpumalanga legislature.
“She will simply not get away with a slap on the wrist.
“If immediate action is not taken against the premier, the DA will be left with no option but to open a case against her,” said the DA.