NATIONAL NEWS - President Cyril Ramaphosa appears to have heeded a call from South Africans to rein in Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for allegedly violating lockdown rules.
He said on Tuesday: “I have seen the picture of Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams sitting at the luncheon with a number of friends and other people. I have asked her to come and see me, so she is going to come and see me and I am going to have a discussion with her about the impact of visuals…”
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has also called on ANC senior members to observe the lockdown rules and set the example, and not take photos if they’re not doing so.
This after former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana shared a picture of the two, along with others, having a meal at his house.
According to the 21-day lockdown regulations implemented by government, people are only allowed to go to stores to get essential items or if they are rendering essential services. They should not be going to each other’s houses for a bite to eat.
According to the picture posted, and later deleted by Manana, Ndabeni-Abrahams stopped by Manana’s house for a meal on her way back from “executing” essential services.
He wrote: “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.”
People have called on Ramaphosa to take action against the minister amid this lockdown that has seen thousands of South Africans being arrested for disobeying the regulations.
Manana told Jacaranda FM: “I think the minister must respond for herself because I was home and she was working nearby, so it was not dinner per se.”
DA MP Phumzile van Vamme said she would be writing to Ramaphosa to take action against the minister.
“We will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa this afternoon about Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams breaking lockdown rules. She is a leader and must set an example. I hope he takes strong action against her,” she said.
“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.”
In 2018 Manana announced through his foundation that he was voluntarily resigning as a member of parliament for the ANC despite the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) declining to prosecute him for alleged assault against his domestic worker.
He said he had waited for his name to be “cleared” as quitting earlier would have been an “admission of guilt”, despite mounting pressure from even those within his own party.
Manana said the NPA’s decision left him feeling “totally exonerated”.
It was reported that his domestic worker Christine Wiro withdrew a case of assault against him after he allegedly pushed her down the stairs at his home. He was also caught on a recording offering her R100,000 as a “consolation” after she went to the police.
Wiro later explained that she didn’t want to pursue the case since Manana was a powerful man.
Manana said he had decided to resign after about a decade in the National Assembly so that he could focus on campaigning for the ANC, and on his business and academic interests.
He said that in the spirit of Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina campaign he would be donating a portion of his pension to charity, with R1 million going to a men’s group fighting abuse, and another R500,000 to a group distributing sanitary pads.
He also committed to funding the Unisa studies of five students, to increase “their capacity” to understand local gender relations.
Manana concluded by committing himself to combating sexual and gender-based violence “wherever it manifests itself”.