President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months – one month of which will be unpaid.
This comes after social media was up in arms on Tuesday, after a social media post went viral allegedly showing her having lunch at the home of former deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manana, during the national lockdown.
This is contrary to the lockdown regulations, that only essential workers can move around, and citizens should only leave their homes to get essentials like food or medical assistance.
The president summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams on Tuesday. According to a statement released by the Presidency, Ramaphosa expressed his disapproval of the minister’s actions, which undermined the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.
“The president accepted the minister’s apology for the violation but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered,” it reads.
Ramaphosa has placed the Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months, during which Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in her place.
The president has reprimanded the minister and directed her to deliver a public apology to the nation.
Listen: President spokesperson Khusela Diko on Ndabeni’s censuring
“The nation-wide 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,” says 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.”
Watch: Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, apologises for breaching lockdown rules