Police Minister Bheki Cele says he agrees with many members of the public that his department’s officials should have acted against Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane for not wearing a mask at the funeral of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu on Sunday.  

Mtsweni-Tsipane signed an admission of guilt statement at the Vosman police station in Witbank and issued a public apology after the incident sparked public outrage.  

Meanwhilethe EFF in Mpumalanga has rejected the premier’s apology and has instead opened a case against her.  

The party says it wants her to be charged with failure to wear a mask in public.  

Cele says their failure to respond swiftly is regrettable. 

We fully concede that police in Mpumalanga did not do their work. They are supposed to have acted and the community and society should have been informed of the outcome of that. But subsequently as I say everything that was supposed to have happened with the premier has now happened,” says Cele.  

In the video below, Cele provides more clarity:  

Admission of guilt 

In a statement, the premier said she has signed the admission and also accepted the relevant fine.

She has apologised to the Mthembu family, South Africans and the President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mtsweni-Tsipane says she has bought 1 000 masks to be distributed to the community and has taken a decision to go into self-isolation for a period of 14 days.

Following outrage, the premier said she was not aware that her mask had fallen off when she stepped out of her vehicle.

Below is the premier’s full apology: 

–Additional reporting by Bulelani Phillip