- Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has been left trying to explain away her embarrassing interview
- The minister claims that she'd meant to say France, not Geneva, Switzerland during q televised conversation
- This comes after the politician was mercilessly criticised for her apparent lack of geographical knowledge
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has had to clarify the confusion over an interview intended to clear the air.
Briefly.co.za reported that the politician had botched the chat with eNCA reporter Xoli Mngambi, who had asked:
"You flew your husband on taxpayers' money all the way to Switzerland in order to celebrate the anniversary of your wedding. Is that true?"
Ndabeni-Abrahams must have been flustered by the question, responding that:
"What do you think Xoli? Do you think I would take my husband to a wedding anniversary in Switzerland? I had said on this matter as I issued a statement that … meaning Xoli … the statement that you read, I said I've never been in Switzerland, my husband has never been to Switzerland, we went to Geneva and New York."
With South Africans cringing at the mistake, the minister has now backtracked in a statement:
"A question was asked relating to a September 2019 trip to Geneva, Switzerland. When the question was raised, I erroneously referred to Switzerland instead of France, responding to the effect that my husband and I had not been to Switzerland, but Geneva."
Apologising for her error, the politicians clarified that she had been referring to France:
"I profusely apologise for this error as I meant to say that we had not been to France in that particular instance, but in Geneva where Mr Abrahams had accompanied me on an official trip in line with the Ministerial Handbook."
A Sunday Independent report had claimed the minister's husband Thato Abrahams had accompanied her on a working trip overseas to celebrate their wedding.
Ndabeni-Abrahams claims that the backlash over this was part of a 'malicious smear' campaign against her:
"At the outset, attention is drawn to the fact that the president is not required to approve the inclusion of a spouse for official international trips as long as all is in line with the limits set in the Ministerial Handbook. Further, the handbook allows for spouses to accompany members of the executive on two official international trips per year. Therefore, both policy and process were not flouted in Mr Abrahams accompanying the minister to Geneva and New York."
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