President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has suspended Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister of communications and digital technologies, for two months for allegedly violating lockdown regulations.
Despite the lockdown order which forbade movements unless for essential tasks, Ndabeni-Abrahams allegedly visited the home of a friend for lunch.
A picture of the lunch had reportedly gone viral on social media causing South Africans to condemn her action.
Khusela Diko, presidential spokesman, in a statement, said Ramaphosa was displeased with the action of the minister, adding that no one is above the law.
He said the minister will not get paid for a month, and that she was asked to tender a public apology to the nation.
“As to allegations that the minister violated the lockdown regulations, the law should take its course,” the statement read.
“This followed the revelation on social media that the minister had recently visited the home of a friend who hosted a lunch, contrary to the lockdown regulations.
“The President expressed his disapproval of the Minister’s actions, which undermine the requirement that all citizens stay at home and save South Africa from the spread of the coronavirus.
“The President accepted the Minister’s apology for the violation but was unmoved by mitigating factors she tendered.
“The president has reprimanded the minister and directed her to deliver a public apology to the nation.
“The nation-wide lockdown calls for absolute compliance on the part of all South Africans. Members of the National Executive carry a special responsibility in setting an example to South Africans, who are having to make great sacrifices.
“None of us – not least a member of the National Executive – should undermine our national effort to save lives in this very serious situation. I am satisfied that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams appreciates the seriousness of what she has done and that no-one is above the law.”
Since the 21-day lockdown took effect on March 26, many residents have reportedly been arrested across the country for violating the restrictions.
South Africa has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa with 13 deaths and 95 recoveries.