President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months. One month of the leave will be unpaid.
This follows the minister coming under fire for visiting a friend for lunch during the national 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.
“The President summoned the minister yesterday, 7 April 2020. The President expressed his disapproval of the minister’s actions, which undermine the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus,” said the presidency.
“The President accepted the minister’s apology for the violation, but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered.”
The presidency said that while the minister has been placed on special leave, Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in Ndabeni-Abrahams’ position.
The President has also directed Ndabeni-Abrahams to deliver a public apology to the nation.
“The nationwide lockdown calls for absolute compliance on the part of all South Africans. Members of the National Executive carry a special responsibility in setting an example to South Africans, who are having to make great sacrifices,” said Ramaphosa.
“None of us – not least a member of the National Executive – should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation. I am satisfied that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams appreciates the seriousness of what she has done and that no one is above the law.”
DA lays complaint
DA MP Phumzile van Damme previously told The Citizen that she would ask Ramaphosa to take action against Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“We will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa 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.