Comms minister in hot water for ‘breaking’ lockdown rules

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Minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

While government has been pushing a message for the public to stay at home during the nation-wide lockdown, it seems some ministers are not obeying the lockdown rules.

In a since deleted Instagram post, minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, head of the communications and digital technologies department, is seen in “violation” of the lockdown rules, having lunch at a friend’s place.

The friend in question is former higher education deputy minister Mduduzi Manana, who reportedly posted the picture on Sunday.

Manana captioned the post: “It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister Cde Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (minister of communications and digital technologies) on her way back from executing critical and essential services required for the effective functioning of our country during the nationwide lockdown.”

South Africa is currently on day 12 of the national 21-day lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The total number of locally confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 1 686, with the total number of COVID-19-related deaths reaching 12, so far.

In a clip on eNCA, president Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed seeing the picture showing Ndabeni-Abrahams at lunch with “friends and a number of other people.”

“I have asked her to come and see me, so she is going to come and see me. I’m going to have a discussion with her about the impact of visuals like those on what we are trying to do.

“We are trying to instil a clear message to all our people that social distance is important, let us stay at home, and let us not be going around with visitations. If you have to, it must be work-related.”

Democratic Alliance MP and shadow minister of communications and digital technologies, Phumzile Van Damme, tweeted that she will be writing to the president this afternoon about Ndabeni-Abrahams breaking lockdown rules.

“She is a leader and must set an example. I hope he takes strong action against her.

“An important thing to note here: while MPs (she is one) are considered an essential service, visiting Mdu Manana (he is not a public representative) does NOT constitute the discharging of a duty related to her office. She mustn’t even try it with that excuse,” read the tweets.

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