While Mpumalanga’s Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has taken steps to rectify her mask blunder, if what the police ministry has said is anything to go by, she may not be entirely off the hook yet.

Police Minister Bheki Cele was to expect a report into the matter by Monday, 25 January 2021 and it is yet to be confirmed if it was submitted. Cele himself has caught heat for his handling of the saga, with many accusing him of going easy on the premier.

Mtsweni-Tsipane sparked public outrage when she was seen at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral in Emalahleni, formerly known as Witbank on Sunday, 24 January 2021, not wearing a mask – as per the level 3 lockdown restrictions.

The Mpumalanga premier subsequently apologised and said her mask had fallen off – a response many argue was far worse than no response at all. Added to that was Cele’s word that the matter would be investigated.

Bheki Cele expecting report into Mtsweni-Tsipane’s mask blunder

Speaking to eNCA, the police ministry’s Lirandzu Themba said the purpose of the probe was to get to the bottom of the matter and have certain questions answered.

“We believe an investigation is one way to ensure that necessary action is taken as to what transpired…the minister is quite steadfast to say that wearing of masks in public remains mandatory,” Themba said.

She added that the report which Cele will receive, will determine the Mpumalanga premier’s fate.

“The minister is expecting this report to be handed to him today and I think we will come a step closer to finding a solution and of course, knowing what exactly is to become of the premier, if I might add. But, of course, this will be on the guidance of that report,” Themba said.

After probably realising that a mere apology was not going to fly with South Africans, the Mpumalanga premier admitted fault and paid an admission of guilt fine. She has also deposited a statement of guilt at the Vosman police station in Emalahleni.

“To further demonstrate my remorse, I have bought 1,000 masks that will be distributed in Emalahleni as part of public education and awareness campaign to demonstrate the serious nature of COVID-19,” Mtsweni-Tsipane said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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