Masechaba Ndlovu, the spokesperson of Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, has apologised after mistakenly tweeting about a non-existent coronavirus death toll in South Africa.
Ndlovu was reporting on Mthethwa’s comments during an interview with Sakina Kamwendo on SAfm on Wednesday when she made the error.
In a now-deleted tweet, she wrote, “The message is unambiguous. People must listen to what the President has said. There is no ‘if’ or ‘maybe,’ people are dying. The death toll was at 64 yesterday; we now stand at 116. – Minister @NathiMthethwa #OneMessageManyVoices.”
‘My apologies for giving you a fright’
Twitter users immediately alerted Ndlovu about the error and she subsequently tweeted her apology.
“To clarify, ‘the number of people infected with #CoronaVirusSA now stands at 116.’ Thank you Twitter family. Let’s continue to take the necessary measures to curb the spread of this virus. My apologies for giving you a fright,” she wrote.
This is Ndlovu’s first full week as Mthethwa’s spokesperson after her appointment on Thursday last week.
Announcing her appointment, Mthethwa described her as “a dynamic trailblazer who has made an immense contribution towards the African media landscape.”
Controversy surrounding Asanda Magaqa’s firing
He added, “Masechaba Ndlovu is a Pan-African brand and a seasoned media practitioner who has played a significant role in the arts fraternity.
“As someone who possesses passion for people, she has constantly been in the forefront of advocating for truth and justice.”
However, Nldovu’s appointment and the apparent firing of Mthethwa’s previous spokesperson, Asanda Magaqa, was not without controversy.
Writing on Twitter, Magaqa suggested that she had learnt of her firing on social media and described it as a “devastating moment.”
She wrote, “What has shattered my heart most… is not the news I woke up to; not your collective ‘whys and ‘hows,’ but seeing my name as a subject of speculation, jokes, and damaging insinuations… and seeing strangers mock and laugh at me as I undergo a devastating moment in my life…
“Under the circumstances, I am taking a brief sabbatical from social media. If you derive some kind of titillation from these developments, good for you. Just know that God has carried me through far worse.”