The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has termed Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’ two-month special leave for breaching lockdown regulations as “nonsensical.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the party also called for her removal from the Cabinet and for the SA Police Service to take action against her.
It said, “The two-month censure imposed on the Minister for breaching the lockdown is nonsensical and suggests that Ministers and Members of the Executive must be treated as if they are above the law.”
‘Slap on the wrist’
Ramaphosa announced the censure earlier on Wednesday after meeting Ndabeni-Abrahams on Tuesday.
He said he had accepted her apology but had been “unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered,” and directed her to issue a public apology.
The President also said the law must take its course regarding allegations that the Minister had violated the lockdown regulations. He added that one month of the special leave will be unpaid.
However, the EFF said, “To lose a month’s worth of salary and be put on leave is a slap on the wrist for a contravention that mocks our collective effort as a nation.”
‘SAPS should take action’
The party added, “We call on the Minister of Police and SAPS to take the same action they have done with ordinary citizens who have violated the regulations.”
The controversy stems from a picture former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana shared on social media on Saturday. It showed Ndabeni-Abrahams having lunch with him and his family at his residence.
In a statement on Tuesday, Manana said the Minister was at his residence to collect personal protective equipment for students working on COVID-19 digital services.
The EFF however called for an investigation into Manana’s claim, saying it was “concerning” that he had “summoned” a Minister to his home to collect donations while there are “structures and mechanism” to coordinate such donations.
The EFF added, “Ministers must never meet self-purported philanthropists in their homes, as these unofficial meetings lack transparency and are a dark road towards corruption.
“Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams must be removed from the Cabinet if the integrity of the national lockdown is to be maintained and the rule of law is to be taken seriously.”
The Minister has issued a public apology and appealed to Ramaphosa and South Africans to forgive her for her actions.