- Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane released a statement slamming claims about a tender as fake news
- This after an image on social media alleged that a vaccine distribution tender had been awarded to Mtsweni-Tsipane's family member
- Mtsweni-Tsipane denied the claims adding that the allegations were made to 'tarnish' her image
Fake news has been spreading regarding Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane. It was alleged that the owner of a company called 'JOVA Vaccines Supply' was awarded a vaccine distribution tender.
An image circulating on social media claimed that the owner of the aforementioned company is related to Premier Mtsweni-Tsipane. The Premier released a statement condemning the image as fake news on Tuesday.
The statement claimed that the 'unfounded and disparaging allegations' against Premier Mtsweni-Tsipane were done to 'tarnish' her image.
According to the statement on gov.za, Mtsweni-Tsipani urged citizens of Mpumalanga to be vigilant and guard against fake news. A report by IOL stated that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has made a call for transparency on the claims.
Briefly.co.za recently reported on the Premier after she was seen maskless at the late Jackson Mthembu's funeral.
The Premier confirmed that she has submitted a 'statement of guilt' at the Vosman Police Station in Emalahleni in response to the immense backlash. In addition to this, Mtsweni-Tsipane purchased 1 000 face masks and took the time to reflect deeply on her 'momentary lapse' which she insists she deeply regrets.
Following this, the Mpumalanga branch of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opened a case against the ANC politician. The Red Berets want the Premier to be charged with failure to wear a mask in public over the incident.
At the end of January, Police Minister Bheki Cele's spokesperson Lirandzu Themba revealed that all officers on duty at Jackson Mthembu's funeral were in hot water. Themba pointed out that all officers on duty on the event had failed to enforce the law with the spokesperson continuing:
“As a result, the National Commissioner (Khehla Sithole) has instructed the Provincial Commissioner in Mpumalanga to investigate."
The lockdown regulations dictate that any citizen who fails to comply with a verbal instruction issued by a police officer to wear a mask is guilty of a criminal offence. The offence sees those found guilty liable to a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela also weighed in on the incident. Her comments had come in response to former Minister Derek Hanekom, who had raised his views:
"It's quite straightforward actually: we either arrest and charge people for not wearing masks in public or we don't. If we do, politicians certainly can't be exempted. Simple."
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