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08.04.2020 South Africa

S.Africa's minister who flouted lockdown rules sent on leave

By AFP
S.Africa's minister who flouted lockdown rules sent on leave
LISTEN APR 8, 2020

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday placed on special leave a minister seen lunching at a friend's house in violation of the coronavirus lockdown.

Ramaphosa has ordered a three-week national lockdown to try to brake the virus, which has infected 1,749 people, killing 13 of them, according to an official tally.

But a picture posted on Instagram on Sunday showed Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams having lunch with five other people at the home of a former deputy minister earlier that day.

"President Ramaphosa has placed the Minister on special leave for two months," the presidency said in a statement.

Ramaphosa has "accepted the minister's apology for the violation but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered," it said.

"The nation-wide lockdown calls for absolute compliance on the part of all South Africans," Ramaphosa was quoted as saying.

"None of us -– not least a member of the national executive -– should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation," said Ramaphosa. "No-one is above the law."

Last month, just two days into the lockdown, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu was forced to issue an apology after she posted a video on her Instagram account, joking about how she was struggling to stay home.

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