Cyril wants ‘ab­so­lute com­pli­ance’

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PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday called for ab­so­lute com­pli­ance with the na­tional lockdown im­posed to curb the spread of the coronaviru­s (Covid-19).

“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,” said Ramaphosa.

“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.”

Ramaphosa yesterday placed Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Digital Tech­nolo­gies Min­is­ter Stella Nd­abeni-abra­hams on spe­cial leave for two months, one month of which will be un­paid, after a pho­to­graph of the min­is­ter emerged on so­cial me­dia show­ing her hav­ing lunch with friends de­spite the na­tional lockdown.

“As to al­le­ga­tions that the min­is­ter vi­o­lated the lockdown reg­u­la­tions, the law should take its course,” the Pres­i­dency said.

Con­cerned South Africans ex­pressed shock and dis­ap­point­ment with Nd­abeni-abra­hams’ pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tion of the strin­gent lockdown reg­u­la­tions aimed at cur­tail­ing the spread of the virus.

For­mer deputy min­is­ter of higher ed­u­ca­tion Mduduzi Manana shared a photo of the two, along with oth­ers, hav­ing a meal at his home. The photo also showed Nd­abeni-abra­hams, who Manana de­scribed as a friend, seated at the ta­ble and en­joy­ing the meal.

The photo cap­tion read: “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 photo was posted on In­sta­gram and has since been deleted by Manana.

“The pres­i­dent sum­moned the min­is­ter on Tues­day. The pres­i­dent ex­pressed his dis­ap­proval of the min­is­ter’s ac­tions, which un­der­mine the re­quire­ment that all cit­i­zens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronaviru­s,” said the Pres­i­dency.

Ramaphosa ac­cepted Nd­abeni-abra­hams’ apol­ogy for the vi­o­la­tion but “was un­moved by mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors” she ten­dered.

“Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa has placed the min­is­ter on spe­cial leave for two months, dur­ing which Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency Jack­son Mthembu will act in Min­is­ter Nd­abeni-abra­hams’s po­si­tion,” said the Pres­i­dency.

Ramaphosa has rep­ri­manded the min­is­ter and di­rected her to de­liver a pub­lic apol­ogy to the na­tion.

South Africa is go­ing through a 21-day na­tional lockdown aimed at curb­ing the spread of Covid-19. The coun­try had at least 1 749 con­firmed in­fec­tions and to­tal deaths are now at 13.

The lockdown is ac­com­pa­nied by a string of reg­u­la­tions that limit the move­ment of cit­i­zens, who are ex­pected to stay at home un­less they are shop­ping for food, seek­ing med­i­cal help or sup­plies, bank­ing, buy­ing petrol, col­lect­ing so­cial grants, or per­form­ing es­sen­tial ser­vices.

– African News Agency

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa

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