Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has expressed her regret for breaching lockdown rules put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and has asked South Africans to forgive her for her actions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months, one month of which will be unpaid, and has also directed her to deliver a public apology to the nation.
“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.
Ramaphosa summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams to a meeting on Tuesday, after a photo was circulated on social media showing her at the home of former Deputy Education Minister Mduduzi Manana during the lockdown and physical distancing period.
The President had since expressed his disapproval of the Minister’s actions, which he said undermined the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.
While Ramaphosa accepted the Minister’s apology for the violation, he said he was “unmoved by the mitigating factors she presented”.
Ndabeni-Abrahams has said she will abide by the conditions of the special 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 a virus that has devastated many nations,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Minister in The Presidency Jackson Mthembu will act in Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams’ position.