Twitter drags Minister - So exactly where is Geneva, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams?
Durban - 'I have never been to Switzerland, I went to Geneva' - and with those few words during a television interview, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams became the Twitter joke on Wednesday.
The minister had been responding to allegations that she travelled to Switzerland with her husband Thato Abrahams, to celebrate their wedding anniversary last year - at the cost of the taxpayer. The trip had allegedly been undertaken without permission from President Cyril Ramaphosa, a Sunday newspaper reported.
It also alleged Ndabeni-Abrahams had allowed her husband to attend official meetings.
After seeing herself become the joke among the Twitterati, she later clarified in a statement that she did make a mistake and had initially meant to deny she had been to France, not Switzerland.
In January, the Sunday Independent reported that the minister's husband had allegedly used a chauffer-driven Mercedes Benz S600 to drive from Geneva to Paris, to undertake a shopping spree at taxpayer expense.
Last year, it emerged that the minister had used state funds to travel to Switzerland to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Business class return tickets for the trip were upwards of R75000.
When eNCA's Xoli Mngambi raised the question again during the interview, Ndabeni-Abrahams dug in deep.
"I have never been to Switzerland. My husband has never been to Switzerland. We went to Geneva and New York," she said.
"I've never been to Switzerland.— Khaya Sithole (@CoruscaKhaya) February 19, 2020
My husband has never been to Switzerland.
We went to Geneva and New York."
She went on to tell Mngambi to call on the journalist who wrote the initial article about her trip, to produce proof. But that said, it didn't stop Twitter from letting rip.
That's like she's never been to South Africa but she's been to Pretoria pic.twitter.com/Tguy1XGx13— K U L A N I (@kulanicool) February 19, 2020
ANC comrades are bewitched, I guess Geneva is in Swaziland 🤪 pic.twitter.com/NMeyjOAuJ7— Mbuyi_Pajero (@MbuyiPajero) February 19, 2020
"My husband has never been to Switzerland. We went to Geneva and New York." pic.twitter.com/EITAZEla1s— Jacques Maree (@JacquesMaree73) February 19, 2020
Let me check Geography again. Cause the last time I checked Geneva is a city in Switzerland. Who's fooling who here? pic.twitter.com/gJZI1PV3XX— Cellular ⚽ (@robzinterris) February 19, 2020
Some of you are acting as if they knew that Geneva is Switzerland. pic.twitter.com/azjmJcPOot— Olwethu Sipuka (@osipuka) February 19, 2020
Urgent INTERPOL Notice:— Gary Koekemoer (@Gary22k) February 19, 2020
In the last 24 hours Geneva has mysteriously upped & left Switzerland. If found, the Swiss would greatly appreciate it being returned.
(Our thanks to SA’s Minister of Communication: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for alerting us, merci Madame) pic.twitter.com/LFWMiLOr04