ANC funeral Mlangeni 2

Photo: Khayelihle Khumalo / Twitter

ANC ‘regret and apologise for’ breaking lockdown laws at Mlangeni funeral

Hoards of mourners surrounded the coffin of ANC stalwart Mlangeni as he arrived at his family home in Soweto, raising charges of hypocrisy.

ANC funeral Mlangeni 2

Photo: Khayelihle Khumalo / Twitter

The African National Congress (ANC) have apologised for the lack of social distancing being observed at the funeral of fallen stalwart Andrew Mlangeni’s funeral on Wednesday 28 July. 

The ruling party was widely condemned to charges of hypocrisy after visuals from the funeral demonstrated mourners gathering in extremely close quarters, many of whom were not wearing masks and police have confirmed that they will be looking into possible breaches of the Disaster Management Act, specifically in terms of the amount of people who are able to attend funerals. 

ANC apologise for ‘difficulty to maintain social distancing’  

In a statement released on Tuesday 4 August following the conclusion of a meeting between the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the party said that they were sorry that the scenes that were broadcast live on National Television so obviously contradicted their continued instruction to socially distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The NEC noted the overwhelming outpouring of grief as we mourned the passing of Isithwalandwe Mlangeni and the dignified manner in which South Africans mourned this freedom fighter and supported the family, especially the community of Dube and Soweto,” the statement read.

Ultimately, the ANC NEC blamed the failure to adhere to lockdown laws on the influx of community members who arrived in droves to mourn Mlangeni at his home in Soweto. 

“The ANC regrets and apologises for the incident on July 28 when, during the arrival of the cortege at the home, difficulties arose with maintaining social distance and keeping the numbers down.”

They added that they would fully cooperate with and accept the outcomes of the ongoing police investigation into the matter, which was confirmed last week. 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) confirmed that they are investigating the ANC’s contravention of the Disaster Management Act, which facilitates the passing of lockdown regulations. 

“The regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, makes provision for the dispersing of crowds who gather illegally and it also makes provision to hold accountable, a person or persons who convenes or organises illegal gatherings,” said SAPS national spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo.

“Therefore with regards to this matter in question, a case of contravention of section 48 (1a) of the Disaster Management Act… will be opened for investigation,” Naidoo said.

Mbalula blames community for unfortunate scenes

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula also said that his party couldn’t be held wholly responsible for the unfortunate scenes that played out and prompted South Africans to angrily point out the double standards of the ANC.

Mbalula insisted that within his party’s contingent at the event, there were only 10 members present, which is well below the maximum of 50 people permitted to attend funerals. 

“The reality of the matter is that we were less than 10, led by the TG (Treasurer-General) and indeed, when the coffin arrived, people moved forward…People erupted and the marshals tried to push them back”, he told Newzroom Afrika.

He said that the influx of people who arrived and decimated efforts to properly socially distance was merely an indication of how highly regarded Rivonia trials Mlangeni was. 

“Nonetheless, the ANC didn’t gather people and seek to address them in the environment of coronavirus…The anxiety and spontaneity of the people is a reflection of the kind of person we were bidding farewell”, Mbalula said.