Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has paid a R1,000 admission-of-guilt fine for breaching lockdown regulations, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has announced.
In a statement on Wednesday, NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Ndabeni-Abrahams was charged with contravention of Regulation 11 B of the Disaster Management Act.
The Minister had been served with a summons to appear at the Pretoria District Court on 22 May, 2020, Mjonondwane added. However, she will not appear in court after paying the fine.
Visit ‘wasn’t for essential services’
Mjonondwane said, “The admission-of-guilt fine is as per the determination by the Senior Magistrate for the Magisterial District of Tshwane where the amount of R1,000 has been set for the offence of failure to confine oneself to his/her place of residence.
“The State alleged that, on 5 April, 2020, Ndabeni-Abrahams unlawfully and intentionally failed to remain confined in her place of residence by visiting Mr Mduduzi Manana’s place of residence.
“The investigations revealed that the visit was not for purposes of rendering essential services or obtaining essential goods, collecting a grant or seeking medical attention as per requirements of the COVID-19 regulations.”
The matter came to the public’s attention after Manana, who is a former deputy minister, posted images of himself and his family having lunch with Ndabeni-Abrahams on Instagram.
Manana claimed the Minister was collecting personal protective equipment (PPE) at his residence when he “courteously” invited her to join his family for lunch.
Ramaphosa subsequently placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on a two-month special leave, one of which will be unpaid, and directed her to issue a public apology.
He said, “The nationwide lockdown calls for absolute compliance on the part of all South Africans. Members of the National Executive carry a special responsibility in setting an example to South Africans, who are having to make great sacrifices.”
Ndabeni-Abrahams issued written and video apologies in which she expressed regret for her actions and asked for forgiveness.
She said, “The President has put me on a special leave with immediate effect. I undertake to abide by the conditions of the special leave.
“I take 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.”