Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams submits herself to ANC integrity commission after recent controversies

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Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Gallo Images/Foto24/Lisa Hnatowicz
  • Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams will voluntarily subject herself to the ANC's integrity commission.
  • This, after several controversies, including allegations her husband's business dealings influence her work in the sector.
  • She was recently taken to task by the ANC.

Under-fire Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced on Friday that she would voluntarily submit herself to the ANC's integrity commission.

According to a statement from her ministerial spokesperson, Mish Molakeng, her decision followed "the publication of a series of speculative media reports in recent weeks alleging possible business dealings, by senior officials, in state-owned entities under her portfolio and members of her family".

READ | Ramaphosa talks Zuma, Yengeni and corruption in NEC briefing, condemns 'campaign' against him

According to the statement, Ndabeni-Abrahams had, in recent meetings with senior executives and board members of state-owned-entities in her portfolio, emphasised the call for public servants to cease doing business with the state.

She also encouraged officials in her department, and senior executives in the entities under her portfolio, to do the following:
  • Report corrupt activities to law enforcement agencies without fear or favour;
  • Institute disciplinary measures against officials or employees found to be doing business with the state; and
  • Take appropriate measures against any persons seeking to use members of her family to access business opportunities in the entities under her portfolio.

"I have emphasised to my department, and all officials in the public entities that fall under my portfolio, that we must be resolute in eradicating corruption and lead by example in fighting impropriety in the entities we oversee," Ndabeni-Abrahams said, according to the statement.  

She said in a show of commitment to eradicating corruption in her department and to protect the integrity of her office, and in line with the example already set by President Cyril Ramaphosa, she had also subjected herself voluntarily to the ANC's integrity commission to address any allegations of impropriety that had been levelled against her office.

Dealings

Several media reports alleged that Ndabeni-Abrahams' husband, Thato Abrahams, had business dealings in the sector under Ndabeni-Abrahams's purview and this had influenced her dealings with entities, notably the South African Post Office.

In response to these articles, Ndabeni-Abrahams said: "The media is an important democratic institution for holding public officials to account, and must be respected.

It was our hope that our responses, which are always open and transparent, to questions from the media, would be sufficient to address any public concerns about these matters and to inform the public on the truth of the matters reported upon.

"Regrettably, that has not always been the case," she said.

She said she remained committed to eradicating corruption in her department and to discharge her duties with transparency and accountability.   

Two weeks ago, Ndabeni-Abrahams was hauled before the ANC's subcommittee on communications, where she was instructed to obey Parliament with regards to the appointment of councillors to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) council. She then capitulated.

The Icasa matter wasn't the only controversy she found herself mired in.

In recent months, she courted controversy through defying lockdown regulations; her relationship with the South Africa Post Office Board and the SABC, and her husband's business dealings.

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