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ANC welcomes special leave for minister Ndabeni-Abrahams

08 April 2020 - 13:12 By Sthembile Cele
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams with President Cyril Ramaphosa, when she was sworn in.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams with President Cyril Ramaphosa, when she was sworn in.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

The ANC threw its weight behind President Cyril Ramaphosa’s suspension of minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on Wednesday and called on all its deployees to adhere to the lockdown regulations.

“The African National Congress fully supports and welcomes the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to place minister of communications and digital technologies, comrade Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for breaching lockdown regulations,” the party said in a statement.

“The ANC calls on all its deployees and the rest of society to respect and abide by the letter and spirit of all lockdown regulations to effectively disrupt the chain of transmission occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. The national effort to contain and slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus is based on united action and social solidarity.”

Ramaphosa announced earlier on Wednesday that he would place the minister on special leave for two months, one of them without pay. Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu would be acting as communications minister while Ndabeni-Abrahams was suspended.

The minister was pictured on social media lunching with a friend despite a call by the government for South Africans to stay home and adhere to strict regulations aimed at slowing down the infection rate of Covid-19.

The ANC's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, sent a message on Tuesday to the ANC's highest decision making body between conferences, the national executive committee (NEC), calling on members to be cautious of their messaging to society on social media.

“Let us lead by example and demonstrate political consciousness and sensitivity in our conduct and communication, especially on social media. Photos of opulent living and consumption of non-essential substances should be avoided. We must be seen to lead in both the letter and spirit of the national lockdown,” Duarte said.

The minister has accepted the suspension and offered an apology for “breaching” the regulations.