Johannesburg – Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the minister of communications and digital technologies, has issued an apology for violating lockdown regulations by visiting the home of former deputy minister of education Mduduzi Manana.
Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Wednesday she was deeply sorry for her actions and hoped that South Africans and President Cyril Ramaphosa would forgive her for her actions.
“South Africans I would like to convey an apology to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the national command centre and the South African society at large for breaching lockdown regulations put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“I met with the president yesterday (on Tuesday) after a photo was circulated on social media showing myself at the home of Mr Mduduzi Manana during the lockdown and social distancing period. I regret the incident and I am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope the president and you South Africans will find it in your hearts to forgive me,” Ndabeni said in a public video.
The minister has been placed on special leave for two months by Ramaphosa. One of the two months will be unpaid. Her public apology follows her meeting with Ramaphosa where he disapproved of her behaviour and requested that she issue a public apology to the nation for her actions.
She promised to abide by the conditions of her suspension.
“The president has put me on special leave and I undertake to abide by the conditions of the leave. I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate the president’s call for all of us to observe the lockdown rules. They are a necessary intervention to curb the spread of the virus that has devastated many nations,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The drama around the minister was sparked by a photo published by Manana on his Instagram page.
The picture showed Manana and a group of other people, including Ndabeni-Abraham, having lunch at his home. 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 was captioned.
The uproar began on social media as users condemned Ndabeni-Abraham’s actions which violated the lockdown regulations. The regulations restricted the movement of South Africans to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Citizens were only permitted to leave their homes to acquire essential services.
Manana issued an apology on Tuesday afternoon and tried to explain Ndabeni-Abrahams’ presence at his home in Fourways. He claimed she was there to collect personnel protective equipment which was needed by students.
Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in Ndabeni’s Abrahams’ position while she is on leave.
By Zintle Mahlati