The minister who flouted lockdown rules to have lunch with friends has been censured by President Cyril Ramaphosa, and put on two months special leave – one month unpaid. The president said he was “unmoved” by the mitigating factors she tendered to him and said she must make a public apology to the nation.
Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was called to the president’s office yesterday after a storm blew up around her having a lunch with a colleague, pictures of which were posted on Twitter. In a statement today, the Presidency said she had “violated lockdown regulations (and) the law should take its course.”
He said in today’s statement she had been censured and would be placed on special leave for two months, “one month of which will be unpaid.” Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in her position.
Ramaphosa “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.”
“The President has reprimanded the Minister and directed her to deliver a public apology to the nation.” (See apology below.)
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.”
Her apology appeared online a short while ago:
— Athi Geleba 🇿🇦 (@AthiGeleba) April 8, 2020