Police minister Bheki Cele has ordered an investigation into the circumstances around Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane not wearing a mask at the funeral of late minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu.
Cele said the wearing of masks in public is not negotiable.
“If South Africa wants to beat this invisible enemy which is Covid, we simply can’t let our guard down. This is why I have spoken to the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Khehla Sitole, to look into the matter of the premier and an investigation must be conducted and necessary action must be taken,” said Cele.
Cele reminded all South Africans that the wearing of a mask in public is mandatory for every person under the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown regulations.
Any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by a law enforcement officer to wear a mask commits an offence, and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine or a period of imprisonment, not exceeding six months or both.
The premier was seen on national television not wearing a mask.
Her office said in a statement: “Upon arrival at the cemetery and disembarking from her vehicle, the premier’s mask was somehow damaged and she was oblivious of that when it fell. She thought it was intact as it was the case throughout. The premier’s aides promptly sought a replacement mask, which the premier utilised for the rest of the proceedings.”