Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is seemingly in hot water for “breaking lockdown rules” after visiting former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana over the weekend.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Manana shared photos of himself hosting Ndabeni-Abrahams and other unidentified individuals for a meal at his home.
He captioned the pictures, “It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister comrade Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on her way back from executing critical and services required for the effective functioning of our country during the nationwide lockdown.”
DA MP to write to Ramaphosa
Screenshots of the deleted post surfaced on social media on Monday, prompting some to speculate that Ndabeni-Abrahams had broken the COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP and shadow communications minister Phumzile van Damme tweeted that she will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa over the matter.
She wrote, “[Ndabeni-Abrahams] is a leader and must set an example. I hope he takes strong action against her.
“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.”
Leaked letter to ANC NEC members
In a leaked letter to African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) members, ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte also called for “sensitivity” on social media. Manana is an NEC member.
She wrote, “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.”
The pictures also drew the attention of One South Africa Movement leader Mmusi Maimane.
He tweeted, “Eita @CyrilRamaphosa, we can’t have favourites doing as they please. This virus does not care who is a minister and who is not.
“How is it that some see it fit to violate lockdown regulations to have dinner with their exiled colleagues? Can you ask them at close range?”
Ndabeni-Abrahams has not yet publicly commented on the controversy. Manana however 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.”