Durban - A Durban community activist has called for justice to be served against Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, for not complying with the Covid-19 lockdown rules.
Raymond Methraj Sakloo yesterday opened a criminal case at the Newlands East police station against the minister for contravening the Disaster Management Act.
Ndabeni-Abrahams was photographed having lunch with former deputy minister for Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, at his home on Monday night. The picture was uploaded on to Manana’s Instagram account and later deleted.
Sakloo said he waited for four hours at the police station before a case was opened. Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo could not be reached for comment.
“The minister infringed the policy in terms of rules and regulations. She should lead by example. More than 300 people have been arrested for various transgressions like walking their dogs, loitering, walking in the street while not being part of essential services. The sanction against her is not sufficient. We have a right to complain. People have lost their lives to the virus,” Sakloo said.
Ramaphosa said he had placed Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months - one month of which would be unpaid. Ramaphosa expressed his disapproval of her actions. He said it undermined the requirement that all citizens must stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.
Sakloo said Ndabeni-Abrahams’ punishment was a slap on the wrist.
Ramaphosa said: “As to allegations that she violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course. I accepted the minister’s apology for the violation but was unmoved by the mitigating factors she tendered.”
A Phoenix resident, who did not want to be named, told the Daily News yesterday that he had been stopped at a roadblock on Phoenix Highway recently.
He was handed a written notice to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court for breaching the Disaster Management Act.
According to the written notice, which went viral on social media, the police officer stated that the resident had a passenger in the car, went to buy spares and visit. He was fined R5 000. He will appear in court later this month.
“My car had a problem so I bought some spares in Phoenix. On my way home I was stopped near Mt Edgecombe Hospital. The incident stressed me out. Five thousand rand is a lot of money. The minister must suffer the same fate as us,” he said.
Ndabeni-Abrahams yesterday issued a public apology.
“I regret the incident. I am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope the president and you South Africans will find it in your hearts to forgive me. The president has put me on special leave. I undertake to abide by the conditions of the leave. I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate the president’s call for all of us to observe the lockdown rules. They are a necessary intervention to curb the spread of the virus that has devastated many nations,” she said.