South Africa’s communications minister has been suspended for two months.
The suspension which will be without pay – for having lunch with a friend during coronavirus lockdown.
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been the talk of the town since a photograph of her eating with Mduduzi Manana surfaced this week.
The photo made it to social media.
The image, which shows the two enjoying a meal at a table with four of Mr Manana’s family members, was posted on one of his social media accounts and has been re-posted by others many times.
South Africans have been called on to stay at home during the lockdown – now in its second week – and only go out and about for essential trips, such as work, to buy food or to seek medical care.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “unmoved” by the reasons she gave for being there.
None of us – not least a member of the National Executive – should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation.
The president added that “no one is above the law”.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has apologised, saying she was deeply sorry.
I hope the president and South Africans will find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Earlier, Mr Manana, a former deputy minister, said the visit was work-related. He said she went to his house to collect face masks that he was donating through his foundation to help in the fight against Covid-19.