Photo Credit: Moeletsi Mabe.
Minister of mineral resources and energy Gwede Mantashe has denied that he broke the Covid-19 alert level 3 regulations set by President Cyril Ramaphosa by going ahead with a potentially superspreader event in his hometown of Cala.
Mantashe confirmed that a two-day wedding celebration had been planned for December 28 and 29 before Ramaphosa’s announcement.
The wedding took place a day after the national command council on coronavirus took a decision to introduce more restrictions to curb the rising number of Covid-19 infections.
Mantashe’s full explanation has been shared by TimesLive, after the ANC stalwart finally broke his silence on the matter.
However, he defended his family’s decision to go ahead with the wedding celebrations.
"We made the announcement and invited people a long time ago, so these are not rumours. We advertised this and invited people to a wedding on December 28 and 29. We cut the numbers. When we sent the invitation, it was 100 on indoor event and 250 outdoor, that is what we stuck to."
He said on the first day of the nuptials, "We were at the reception and at 8pm, new regulations are released, So when new regulations are released at 8pm, people are not in front of the television, they are all over the show."
To manage the situation, Mantashe said the family went to the police in Cala to report that the family was hosting an event.
National police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo confirmed that Mantashe reported the matter to the police.
"It’s true, he came there to the police station to report that the wedding was planned and that the wedding had already happened on Monday and there were still people there on Tuesday."
Naidoo said Mantashe arrived at the police station between 8am and 8.30am. "He said, 'listen, these people are still here. The wedding already happened yesterday and the president made the pronouncement last night and I have these people.' So we said 'not a problem, they must be dispersed' and then they dispersed them."
He believes he did not break the law.
Mantashe maintained that South Africans would understand. "I have broken no rules, that is why I worked with the police. I did not work with the police so that I can break the rules. I worked with the police to protest the rules."