The office of Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said it noted that a video was circulating of the minister dancing next to a black BMW which had no registration plate.
Social media users reacted angrily to the video and asked why she was dancing next to what appeared to be a new car when people were confined to their homes during the lockdown and losing their jobs.
— Engineer Matšhela Koko (@koko_matshela) April 28, 2020
In response, Ndabeni-Abrahams’ spokesperson Mish Molakeng told News24 that the facts relating to the video were not verified before they were reported on.
In a statement, which was also shared on Twitter, the minister said the video was not taken during the lockdown but a year ago, following the 8 May national elections.
Ndabeni-Abrahams also outlined that speculation that the car was new was far from the truth because car dealerships were closed during the lockdown period.
“I am at home, in line with the lockdown regulations which require citizens to remain at home and observe social distancing rules.
“It is malicious and mischievous to portray me as a person with no remorse [who] insensitively displays opulence at the face of the poor. I humbly call on all involved, whether it is raising their opinions or circulating it, to avoid the temptations [of] sensationalism without first verifying the facts,” the minister’s statement read.
— Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (@Stellarated) April 30, 2020
Ndabeni-Abrahams was put on special leave by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month after a picture surfaced of her dining at the home of former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana, which went viral on social media.
Ramaphosa summoned the minister to his office for an explanation, following public outrage, and ordered her to publicly apologise. She was put on special leave for two months, including one month unpaid.
Ndabeni-Abrahams then publicly apologised and expressed regret for her actions during the lockdown, which prohibits visitations.
Following a police investigation, Ndabeni-Abrahams pleaded guilty and paid a R1 000 fine for contravening lockdown regulations. She now has a criminal record.