Social media users call for Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane’s arrest. A social media uproar ensued after images of her without a mask surfaced over the weekend during the late Minister Jackson Mthembu’s funeral.
On Sunday, Mtsweni-Tsipane released an apology with an explanation of what happened regarding her no-show mask at the gravesite.
In her explanation, she claimed that the mask had come loose and that she was not aware of its absence until later.
“Upon arrival at the cemetary 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.”
Many have disputed her claims on social media platforms, citing footage from earlier in the day, after the premier left the podium after speaking at the funeral, saying there is footage of Deputy President, David Mabuza indicating to her to put a mask on. The minister is then seen nodding her head and walking by Mabuza without heeding his call to put on the mask.
Mabuza telling her to put her mask-on:
— 🇿🇦 PUT SOUTH AFRICA FIRST (@sikeleliAfrika2) January 25, 2021
When it comes to white people and his comrades he treat them differently ,but if it’s us ordinary citizens he’ll make noise and punish us, what exactly are they investigating when we all saw that she wasn’t wearing a mask even DD asksd her to wear it. #ArrestRefilweMtsweni
— Phemelo Serongoane (@phemelo1804) January 25, 2021
Later on at the gravesite, in a couple of frames from television footage, Mtsweni is seen hugging a woman in police uniform without a mask on.
Day by day we get reminded that SA is animal farm 💔. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."#ArrestRefilweMtsweni
— Ramo (@MsRamo_M) January 25, 2021
— Lady-Letso (@MbeleLetso) January 25, 2021
By Monday afternoon, three hashtags relating to Mtsweni’s no-mask saga were trending in the country – #ArrestRefilweMshweni Mpumalanga Premier #BhekiCele
Calls for Mtwseni’s arrest
Some have called on Police Minister, Bheki Cele to take action and arrest the premier. Cele’s office has released a statement via its communications manager, Lerandzo Themba saying “The minister is investigating the matter.”
[JUST IN] Police Minister Gen Bheki Cele is concerned about the conduct of the Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane who was seen on National TV not wearing a mask in public at the #RIPJacksonMthembu funeral. Cele has called for an immidiate investigation into the incident.
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) January 24, 2021
Social media have called for the minister to be arrested as there is clear evidence of her not wearing a mask and admission of guilt through the statement she released over the weekend.
ATM leader, Vuyo Zungula also reacted to the mask saga by tweeting: “When an ordinary citizen is not wearing a mask, do police investigate or they enforce the law? No investigation is needed here, people won’t have confidence in our justice system if the elite are treated differently.”