South African Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has come under fire for visiting a friend during the lockdown.
Former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana posted a picture to Instagram of Ndabeni-Abrahams and others having a meal at his house.
“It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister Cde Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams…” reads the caption on the now-deleted Instagram post.
South Africa’s lockdown regulations forbid South Africans from leaving their homes, unless it is to perform an essential task or work as part of an essential service.
Speaking with Jacaranda FM, Manana said that Ndabeni-Abrahams had visited him after she had been working nearby.
“I think the minister must respond for herself because I was home and she was working nearby, so it was not dinner per se,” said Manana.
Ndabeni-Abrahams is yet to release a statement regarding the incident.
President Ramaphosa and rival parties respond
President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that he had seen the picture, addressing questions on the matter.
He said he had asked Ndabeni-Abrahams to “come and see him” so they could “discuss the impact of visuals like these.”
“We want to instill a clear message about social distancing, that you must stay at home and don’t go around on visitations,” Ramaphosa said.
DA MP Phumzile van Damme told The Citizen she would ask Ramaphosa to take action against Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“We will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa this afternoon about Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams breaking lockdown rules,” said van Damme.
“She is a leader and must set an example. I hope he takes strong action against her.”
“Visiting Mdu Manana (he is not a public representative) does not constitute the discharging of a duty related to her office. She mustn’t even try it with that excuse,” van Damme added.
A screengrab of the deleted Instagram post can be viewed below.