PRETORIA – Civil rights group #NotInMyName on Wednesday called on embattled communications and digital technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to resign from Cabinet for breaching lockdown rules aimed at curbing the spread of the virus in South Africa.
“South Africans have witnessed the repercussions and the vicissitudes suffered by ordinary citizens, at the hands of SA National Defence Force and the South African Police Service, who did not abide by the regulations,” secretary general Themba Masango said in a statement.
“It would be a travesty of justice if Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams did not recuse herself from Cabinet or if she was not subsequently removed, especially considering her level of authority and social standing.”
Masango said in order for the government to retain control, and to ensure that citizens abide by the law, “consistency is the hallmark of determining whether undesirable and dysfunctional behaviour has a probability of being repeated”.
Subsequently, #NotInMyName requested President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ndabeni-Abrahams to act swiftly and in accordance with the regulations they wish general South Africans to follow.
Ndabeni-Abrahams earlier apologised to Ramaphosa, the national command council on Covid-19 and the nation for breaching lockdown rules aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
“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,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams in a video clip.
She said the stringent lockdown regulations “are a necessary intervention to curb the spread of a virus that has devastated many nations”.
Ramaphosa on Wednesday placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months, one of which will be unpaid, after a photo circulated on social media showing her having lunch with friends despite the national lockdown.
“As to allegations that the minister violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course,” the presidency said in a statement.
South Africans expressed shock and disappointment over Ndabeni-Abrahams’ violation of the stringent lockdown regulations.
Former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana shared on Instagram a photograph in which he and Ndabeni-Abrahams, whom he described as a friend, sat at a table with several other people having a meal at his home.
He captioned the photo: “It was great to host a former colleague and Ndabeni-Abrahams on her way back from executing critical and essential services.”
Manana has since removed the photo.
Ramaphosa directed Ndabeni-Abrahams to offer a public apology to the nation.
African News Agency
By Jonisayi Maromo