The office of Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has confirmed the minister is back at work on Tuesday after two months on special leave.
News organisations requested an interview with Ndabeni-Abrahams. However, her spokesperson, Mish Molakeng, said the minister would have back-to-back government meetings on the first day.
“The minister is back at work. However, she has back-to back-meetings,” he said.
Ndabeni-Abrahams pleaded guilty to contravening lockdown regulations in April and paid a R1 000 fine.President Cyril Ramaphosa placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months, one of which was unpaid, and directed police to investigate after a picture emerged on social media of her having a meal at the home of former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana during the national Covid-19 lockdown.
Ramaphosa then summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams to a meeting, where he expressed his disapproval and told her she had undermined lockdown regulations which required all citizens to stay at home to curb the spread of Covid-19.The president ordered his minister to publicly apologise to the country.In a video message released soon after the directive, she said: “I regret the incident and I am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope the president and you, South Africans, will find it in your hearts to forgive me.”
This came as Ramaphosa was at pains to get the public in line, time and again emphasising why a total lockdown, confining people to their homes and basically shutting down the whole economy were the only ways to contain the virus.
Ramaphosa has been criticised for failing to discipline Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
As Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster urging South Africans to stay at home, Zulu was filmed in a public area, commenting on the difficulty of staying home.In a lackadaisical manner, the minister said: “Stay at home if you can. I am finding it difficult to stay at home.”She later apologised after calls by the public after the video was circulated on social media.