Former spokesperson to the Presidency Khusela Diko has annoyed many people on social media with a “Pray for America” call that has been deemed insensitive given the plight of citizens in South Africa, which on Wednesday evening reported a record COVID-19 infection report of over 21 000 confirmed cases. 

Diko said that her post – which was in reference to the scenes of anarchy that unfolded in Washington D.C. on Wednesday – was intended to be sarcastic, but some aren’t sure her humour hit the mark. 

Diko tweet slated  

While The US House and Senate were forced into emergency recess on Wednesday after protesters supportive of outgoing President Donald Trump breached security cordons and entered the Capitol building, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced both the highest daily report in terms of cases as well as deaths, with 844 deaths on Wednesday bringing the total death toll to 31 368.

In light of these, and other pressing matters painting a particularly grim picture in South Africa early into the new year, Diko’s tweet feel rather flat.

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane said that he would have added several more wishes to the list of things worthy of the public’s prayers. 

“You are right that we must pray for a peaceful transition in the most important democracy on earth,” he said. “The prayer list is incomplete though, I will be praying for PPE funds to be returned as well.” 

“I will be praying for competent leaders who can get South Africans a vaccine asap.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema weighed in, simply replying “He banna, wena? (What about you guys?)”.

Former spokesperson remains suspended  

In October last year, The African National Congress (ANC) provincial executive committee (PEC) resolved that Former Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku and Diko should be barred from any organisational work pending the outcome of the investigation into their alleged personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption. 

Diko later said that her tweet was intended to be sarcastic.

“Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt *SMH*,” she wrote.

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