The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has suspended a minister. - Alexei Druzhinin / TASS / Sipa USA / SIPA

We are not joking with confinement in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday the suspension of one of his ministers for a period of two months. Denounced on social networks, it has bypassed confinement to participate in a party with friends.

Ramaphosa forced his 57 million fellow citizens to stay home until April 16 to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, which infected more than 1,700 people and killed 13 people in his country. Despite the order, her communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was caught in disobedience in a photo posted on Instagram on Sunday, where she appears to be having lunch with five other people at the home of a former minister.

No one above the law

Ramaphosa summoned the culprit and "suspended her for two months, including one month without pay," the presidency announced on Wednesday. "National confinement is imposed on all South Africans," said the head of state in a statement. "None of us, let alone a member of the executive, should sabotage our national effort to save lives," he said, "no one is above the law."

Minister asked for forgiveness

In accordance with presidential instructions, Mrs. Ndabeni-Abrahams apologized apologetically. "I regret the incident and apologize for my actions," she said, assuring that the confinement was "necessary to curb the spread of a virus that has devastated many countries".

Cyril Ramaphosa has also indicated that "justice will run its course" to determine if his minister is liable to prosecution. The state of emergency imposed by the South African authorities in the context of the fight against coronavirus provides for maximum sentences of six months in prison and heavy fines for all offenders.


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