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Health MEC issues public apology after ’maskless party’ video goes viral

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DURBAN – KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane has issued a public apology after a video from an apparent surprise birthday party went viral last week.

The apology read: “As directed by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, I, Nomagugu Simelane, hereby wish to tender a public apology for having being less than ethical or exemplary in my conduct, as has been found by the Premier.

“I respect all of the Premier’s utterances and sanctions without reservation and will, henceforth, abide by them fully as I am fully aware of the responsibility that I hold as well as the purpose and intention of the Covid-19 regulations.

“As we remain confronted by the third wave of Covid-19 infections, it is time for us not to be deterred but to instead unite, strengthen our systems, and fight even harder than before, in order to save as many lives as possible,” the MEC said.

Simelane was wrapped over the knuckles by Premier Sihle Zikalala after the video caused a stir.

She later issued a statement clarifying that the event was a surprise birthday party and there were less than 50 people present. Simelane conceded that people were seen without masks but added that this was because they were eating at the time and got up to dance for a few minutes.

Zikalala issued the MEC with a warning and said that 50% of her salary would be docked and donated to an NGO fighting Covid-19 in the Amajuba District.

DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said the party had laid formal charges against Simelane in light of the “slapping of the wrist” meted out to her by Zikalala.