South Africa's President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has put Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, on two months special leave and one month will be unpaid. This follows outrage at her being photographed and posted on Instagram y ex-parliamentarian Mduduzi Manana who said he was glad to have her over for lunch during the 21-day coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown in South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that he reprimanded Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and directed her to deliver a public apology to South Africans.

"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. 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.”

Instagram post, now deleted, by Mduduzi Manana.

Following outrage, Manana released a statement through his foundation, the Mduduzi Manana Foundation, stating that the Minister was on the way to performing some work duties and was at his house to collect donated materials from his foundation. This however contradicted the now deleted post he published on Instagram.

You can read the full statement released by The Presidency below.

President censures Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for lockdown lunch

President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months – one month of which will be unpaid.

As to allegations that the Minister violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course.

This follows the revelation on social media that the Minister had recently visited the home of a friend who hosted a lunch, contrary to the lockdown regulations.

The President summoned the Minister yesterday, Tuesday 07 April 2020. The President expressed his disapproval of the Minister’s actions, which undermine 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.

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 said: “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.

“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.”

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