Ramaphosa puts Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave, orders her to publicly apologise

2020-04-08 12:46
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. (@PresidencyZA/Twitter)

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. (@PresidencyZA/Twitter)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a firm stance against Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, following allegations that Ndabeni-Abrahams breached lockdown regulations by visiting a friend.

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa put Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave and directed her to apologise publicly after a picture of her having a meal at the home of former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana went viral on social media.

The post, which appears to be a screengrab of Manana's Instagram page, shows the two politicians and several others seated at a table.

Ramaphosa summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams to a meeting on Tuesday where he expressed his disapproval and told her that she undermined lockdown regulations which required all citizens to stay at home to curb the spread of Covid-19.

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa said in a statement that while he accepted Ndabeni-Abrahams' apology, he was "unmoved" by mitigating factors she tendered.

As for allegations that Ndabeni-Abrahams breached lockdown regulations, Ramaphosa said the law should take its course.

He reprimanded Ndabeni-Abrahams, put her on a special leave for two months, of which one month will be unpaid, and asked her to deliver a public apology.

READ | Here’s what SA businesses are doing to survive – from moving pay day to cutting hours

"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.

"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," Ramaphosa said.

While Ndabeni-Abrahams is on special leave, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in her place.

On Tuesday, Manana attempted to set the record straight, saying he and Ndabeni-Abrahams were on essential business during the lunch.

READ | Ndabeni-Abrahams' lockdown picture: It was not social lunch, visit was for 'essential business' - Manana

He said Ndabeni-Abrahams had dropped by his private residence to collect gloves, masks and hand sanitisers, which was a donation to students working on "Covid-19 digital services".

Manana added the donation was from his foundation and another donation was expected to be made on Wednesday.

"In hindsight, it was irresponsible to post a picture without giving a clear context and thereby creating the impression that it was a social lunch. For this, I profusely apologise," Manana said.

Read more on:    presidency  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  mduduzi manana  |  stella ndabeni-abrahams  |  coronavirus

Inside News24

Lockdown For
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.