WATCH | Limpopo MEC promises to apologise to old man he mocked during lockdown operation
Limpopo transport MEC Dickson Masemola has "sent a delegation" to the home of a seemingly intoxicated elderly man he filmed and mocked during a government lockdown operation he was part of on Tuesday.
Masemola - who has since removed the video from his Facebook account - was chastised for posting the 90-second clip.
He told TimesLIVE on Wednesday that he had no bad intentions when he posted it, and extended an apology to all who were offended.
Masemola can be heard repeatedly instructing the old man to “stand up” and asks the man, “Whose father are you?", before stating towards the end thathe will publish the video to show how some people are living during the national lockdown.
According to Masemola, he filmed the video to raise awareness against the contravention of lockdown regulations, and did not anticipate that it would cause a social media stir.
"We were on a visit to places in Sekhukhune led by the premier [Stanley Mathabatha] and visited many places, including Leeuwfontein township, to monitor compliance with the regulations as published to ensure societal adherence," said Masemola.
"As the delegation drove through the township, we came across a place that was alleged to be selling khatsha (an alcoholic brew) when it's expected that all shebeens are closed.
"When the situation was acted on, outside there were people, some of whom ran away. The old man was by the wall side of the yard, seemingly struggling to stand up. To me and probably to some who saw him might have thought that it's against the instruction given in line with the regulations.
"To see people indulging up to that condition while the country is dealing with the pandemic of possibly catastrophic proportions is against the pronounced regulations and possibly fatal to their own health and life."
Masemola said to demonstrate his regret for publishing the video, he had taken it down. To this end, he distanced himself from its further publication on social media platforms, saying whoever republishes it was doing so of their own accord.
"I have seen concerns about the recorded video, which was captured without bad intentions but to heighten awareness and need for compliance," he said.
"The video has since been removed as a demonstration of discipline and respect. I remain a humble, disciplined and respectful servant, who abides by the ethos governing my office, As such I have since sent a delegation to the family [of the old man] to profusely apologise and in the same vein, words of comfort and apologies are extended to his fellow residents of Leeuwfontein."
Commentators who pointed out that though the man should not have been drinking and outdoors during lockdown, they expected the elderly to be treated with dignity and respect.
Many said that Masemola, allegedly chuckling in the video, was not living up to the values expected of a political leader in government.
Dimakatso Komape commented: “Why the need to expose him like that, poor old man wearing a regalia that represent your own [ANC]? There is no need to do this to him, his wife and his children. My leader, this is totally wrong.”
Dion Makena said: “Imagine if it was your dad. I do not think you would like it.”
Others did not see anything wrong with Masemola posting the video, saying the old man should have been arrested for breaking lockdown rules.
They also argued that the man's age did not give him the right to be intoxicated in public during the lockdown.