Johannesburg – Former deputy minister of education Mduduzi Manana says Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams visited his home to collect personal protective equipment and not for a social visit.
This is despite the minister appearing to be enjoying lunch with the Manana family in a picture that went viral on social media on Tuesday.
Manana issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon following social media outrage over an image he posted of himself and Ndabeni-Abrahams having lunch at his home during a national lockdown.
The picture was posted on Instagram and showed Manana and a group of other people, including Ndabeni-Abrahams, having lunch. The caption of the picture read: “It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister Cde Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on her way back from executing critical and essential services.”
The post sparked an outcry on social media about Ndabeni-Abrahams failure to adhere to lockdown regulations. Tuesday is Day 12 of the nationwide lockdown imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Manana explained that Ndabeni-Abrahams was not at his home for a social visit but was there to collect personal protective equipment as she was in Fourways and sought the equipment to distribute to learners.
“On her arrival, my family was having lunch and I courteously invited her to join us. She then collected the material and headed to her next assignment. She took the first batch for the Fourway students and indicated that the next visit will be tomorrow (April 8) at the Menlyn site which our team will be delivering.
“In hindsight, it was irresponsible to post a picture without a clear context and thereby creating the impression that it was a social lunch. For this I profusely apologise,” Manana said.
He explained he and his family remain on lockdown.
Ndabeni-Abrahams has since been summoned by Ramaphosa for a discussion on the implications of such a picture appearing in public during the lockdown period.
“I will have a discussion with her about the impact of such visuals on the lockdown regulations,” he said.
The president said citizens had been encouraged to stay home and follow lockdown regulations. He said he was also adhering to the regulations as he was going straight home after visiting the command centre.