Jessie Duarte distances ANC from party-branded face masks

Image credit: Twitter/Mbhazima Shilowa

The African National Congress (ANC) has distanced itself from face masks bearing the party’s emblem and colours.

Images of the face masks surfaced on social media on Tuesday, prompting some members of the public to accuse the ANC of capitalising on the COVDI-19 pandemic to gain popularity.

In a voice note released on Tuesday, ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said “some private sector individuals” had produced the face masks.

‘Don’t abuse ANC emblem’

She said, “It has come to the attention of the ANC that there are some private sector individuals who are producing face masks with the emblem of the ANC on the face masks.

“There are also individuals who are making face masks for themselves out of used ANC t-shirts. We are making an appeal to those members of the private sector not to abuse the ANC’s emblem.”

Duarte appealed to ANC members to understand that the virus affects everyone regardless of their political party affiliation.

“We cannot be selling masks that have political party emblems on them and hoping that people will support the private sector in this regard. This flies in the face of the unity that’s being forged in fighting against COVID-19. We urge you not to sell masks with the ANC emblem on [them],” she added.

EFF and DA-branded PPE

The ANC-branded masks surfaced two weeks after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema shared an image of EFF-branded hand sanitisers on Twitter.

Malema accompanied the image with the caption, “For our people, we will do anything/ #BeSafe #EFFcares.”

Images of Democratic Alliance-branded face masks have also emerged on social media, although they haven’t been verified.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane was also criticised last week after her provincial government distributed sanitiser buckets with her face emblazoned on them.

“The EFF is deeply saddened and disgusted by the inclusion of the Premier’s face on the sanitiser buckets as this is a government programme funded by government money, not her own individual or private programme funded by her own money,” EFF Mpumalanga chairperson Collen Sedibe said in a statement.

However, Mtshweni-Tsipane’s spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni, responded, “The premier’s image was utilised because she is the supreme executive authority of the province. We wish to emphasise that the COVID-19 pandemic must never be used for political point-scoring.”

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