The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is calling for the removal of Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni- Abrahams from cabinet for breaching lockdown regulations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months, one month of which will be unpaid.
This follows the revelation on social media that Ndabeni- Abrahams had recently visited the home of former Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana, who hosted a lunch, despite regulations prohibiting social visits.
In a statement, the EFF says, “The two-month censure imposed on the Minister for breaching the lockdown is nonsensical and suggests that Ministers and Members of the Executive must be treated as if they are above the law. Ordinary citizens are subjected to the full might of the law should they breach lockdown regulations. For one to have lunch with friends while our people observe the lockdown is insulting and undermining.”
The party will lay a charge against the Minister and Manana on Wednesday afternoon.
Below is EFF’s statement:
In the video below, political analyst Ongama Mtimka reacts to Ndabeni-Abrahams’ suspension:
Earlier, the Democratic Alliance also called for Ramaphosa fire and lay a criminal complaint against the minister. The party’s spokesperson on communications Phumzile van Damme says Ramaphosa’s sanction against Ndabeni-Abrahams is not enough.
Van Damme says while the DA also notes Ndabeni-Abrahams’ apology, ‘this is not enough’, – because COVID-19 has killed thousands of people across the globe.
“We believe that the President should be the one who lays a criminal complaints against Ndabeni-Abrahams in order to send a message to South Africans,- that it is important to stay home and that any lawlessness will not be tolerated. If he does not do that he should be at the very least address the nation together with the Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner to inform the country that criminal action will be taken against the Minister.”
ANC welcomes action taken against Ndabeni-Abrahams
The African National Congress (ANC) says it fully supports and welcomes the decision by Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the ANC calls on all its deployees and the rest of society to respect and abide by the letter and spirit of all lockdown regulations in order to effectively disrupt the chain of transmission occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The party says the national effort to contain and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus is based on united action and social solidarity, adding that the message is clear – “the lockdown is meant for all of us to stay at home.”
Congress of the People (COPE) Spokesperson Dennis Bloem and leader of the Freedom Front Plus Pieter Groenewald have also commended Ramaphosa for the sanction meted out against Ndabeni-Abrahams
Ndabeni-Abrahams has meanwhile released a statement, apologising for contravening the lockdown rules.
The Minister says, “I regret the incident and I am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope the President and South Africans will find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
She’s also reiterated the President’s call for all South Africans to observe the lockdown rules, saying they are a necessary intervention to curb the spread of a virus that has “devastated many nations.”
#LockdownSA [WATCH] Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams apologises for breaching lockdown rules when she dined at the house of ANC NEC member Mdu Manana.#sabcnews pic.twitter.com/qg6e5nX5Cm
— Chriselda ‘Babes WeNdaba’ Lewis ™️ (@Chriseldalewis) April 8, 2020