Ramaphosa summons Ndabeni-Abrahams to meeting after lunch lockdown fiasco

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Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has summoned Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to a meeting where she is expected to explain why she had apparently not adhered to the nationwide lockdown by having lunch at former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana’s house.

The minister was seen posing around a dinner table having lunch with Manana and friends on Monday night. The picture was uploaded on the former deputy minister’s Instagram account and later deleted. 

The caption of the pictures 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”.

On Tuesday,  Ramaphosa told journalists he had seen the image which has since gone viral on social media and has drawn strong criticism about Ndabeni-Abrahams’s conduct.
Just two weeks ago, Ramaphosa implemented a nationwide 21-day lockdown which began to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The country is currently on Day 12 of the lockdown and South Africa now has  1 686 confirmed cases and 12 deaths as of Monday night.

Government has called on citizens to stay home, called on people to practise social distancing and to constantly wash hands with soap and/or hand sanitizer.

The lockdown was accompanied by a string of regulations that limited people’s movements. Citizens would be expected to stay at home and only leave their homes only for essential services, such as buying of food or providing essential service. The minister is part of Ramaphosa’s National Coronavirus Command Council.

Ramaphosa said on Tuesday afternoon while visiting the human settlements, water and sanitation Covid-19 command centre at Rand Water in Joburg, that he had seen the image of Ndabeni-Abrahams. He said he had told the minister to “come to see me” and will discuss his concerns with her.

“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.

“I am going straight home, I will not be visiting friends or family, I am going straight home,” he said.
By Zintle Mahlati
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