'Sorry comes from the heart not a script': Twitter weighs in on Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’ apology
South Africans have expressed mixed reactions to communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams' apology for breaking lockdown regulations.
On Wednesday, Ndabeni-Abrahams was put on special leave for two months, one of them without pay, after a picture of her surfaced on social media visiting former deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana during the lockdown.
The now-deleted picture showed Ndabeni-Abrahams, who Manana described as a friend, seated at the table having a meal on Sunday.
“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 caption read.
Soon after the picture went viral, Ndabeni-Abrahams was slammed for her actions and was taken to task by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa expressed his disapproval of the minister's actions, saying she had undermined the requirement that all citizens stay at home during the lockdown.
“None of us — not least a member of the National Executive — should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation. I am satisfied that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams appreciates the seriousness of what she has done and that no-one is above the law.”
In her apology, Ndabeni-Abrahams asked South Africans to find it in their hearts to forgive.
In the video recording, she also admitted that having lunch with a group of people at the invitation of Manana was breaking the lockdown regulations.
“I regret the incident and am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope that the president and you South Africans will find it in your hearts to forgive me.
“The president has put me on special leave. I undertake to abide by the conditions of the leave,” she said.
However, despite the apology by the minister, many, online, said they wanted more action to be taken against her for violating the lockdown regulations.
Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions to the apology.
We note Ndabeni-Abrahams’s apology, but it is a little too late. As Minister, a leader and an MP, Ndabeni-Abrahams has a responsibility that exceeds that of the public. She ought to know better.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 8, 2020
Our country faces a major crisis, the biggest since the dawn of democracy, it cannot be business as usual.— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) April 8, 2020
EFF National Spokesperson @vuyanipambo at Douglasdale Police Station laying criminal charges against Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Mduduzi Manana for breaching lockdown regulations as stipulated by government. pic.twitter.com/RxRrxiUtqs— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) April 8, 2020
Stella's apology reminds me of that time Dina Pule had to stand up and apologise in Parliament for that IT conference looting scandal. She was also Minister of Communications. Stella was her Deputy.— The Villager (@Penxenxe) April 8, 2020
Since #StellaNdabeni apologized & received a lesser punishment (not a prison sentence), can the apology of all those who violated the #LockDownSouthAfrica be accepted & can they be released? If it’s good for Stella, it should be good for the others @PresidencyZA @SAPoliceService— S (@sramphaul) April 8, 2020
I hate scripted apologies like that by Stella, because kahle kahle you're not sorry, you're just sorry you got caught doing something you know very well you shouldn't have been doing— Dances With Wolves🏹 (@WillNtando) April 8, 2020