The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, on a two-month special leave for violating the lockdown regulations currently ongoing in the country.
According to a statement released by the presidency on Wednesday, of Ndabeni-Abrahams’ two months special leave, one month will not be paid.
“As to allegations that the minister violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course,” presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.
Reports emerged on social media that the minister had recently visited the home of a friend who hosted a lunch, contrary to the lockdown regulations, Diko said.
According to Diko, the minister was on Tuesday summoned by the President, who expressed his disapproval of the minister’s actions, saying such behaviour undermines the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save the country from the spread of the coronavirus.
The President accepted Ndabeni-Abrahams’ apology for the violation but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered.
She was reprimanded and directed to deliver a public apology to the nation, Diko said.
The statement revealed further that during Ndabeni-Abrahams’ special leave, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in her position.
The statement said the nation-wide lockdown calls for absolute compliance on the part of all South Africans. This must include members of the National Executive who carry a special responsibility in setting an example to South Africans, who are making great sacrifices, Ramaphosa said in the statement.
“None of us – not least a member of the National Executive – should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation,” said Ramaphosa.
Since the 21-day lockdown took effect on midnight March 26, up to 20,000 people have been arrested across the country for violating the lockdown regulations.