President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella 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, contrary to the lockdown regulations.

Ramaphosa summoned the minister on Tuesday, where he expressed his disapproval of Ndabeni-Abraham’s actions, which he said undermine the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the Presidency says, “Ramaphosa accepted the Minister’s apology for the violation but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered. President Ramaphosa has placed the Minister on special leave for two months, during which Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams’ position. The President has reprimanded the Minister and directed her to deliver a public apology to the nation.”

The President says, “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 adds.

In the Audio below, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson explains why Ndabeni-Abrahams has been place on special leave:

‘Deeply sorry’

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has 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.”

DA calls for Ndabeni-Abrahams to be fired

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says Ramaphosa must set an example by firing and laying a criminal complaint against Ndabeni-Abrahams.

In a statement, the DA says, “He must set an example as the President of South Africa that lawlessness while our country deals with a global pandemic will not be tolerated, regardless of from whom it comes. He therefore ought to lay a criminal complaint against Ndabeni-Abrahams, a person who he appointed as a Minister and member of his Cabinet, and he must go a further step by removing her from his Cabinet.”

The statement further states that, “President Ramaphosa addressed the nation twice asking South Africans to obey the law while containment strategies for COVID-19 were being implemented. The majority of the people of our country have done so with diligence. Many have lost jobs and incomes while staying at home as he requested. Some have been brutalised by security forces for not obeying the law.”

Below is the statement by DA on Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams:

The President Must Set an Example by Laying a Criminal Complaint Against Ndabeni (Text)

Meanhwile, the Mduduzi Manana Foundation has claimed in a statement that Ndabeni-Abrahams was visiting the Manana home to collect supplies of gloves, masks and sanitisers and was not simply just having lunch with the family.

Below is an infographic on amended COVID-19 rules: