Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams' lockdown lunch has seen calls raised for her removal and even some for her arrest. Briefly.co.za explores this and other top news updates amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams' lockdown lunch has resulted in the politician being placed on special leave.
The President commented that the law must take its due course over allegations that she had violated the restrictions governing movement.
Briefly.co.za explores five of the latest updates as South Africa continues to fight against the coronavirus:
President Cyril Ramaphosa's meeting with Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams evidently didn't go too well for the politician.
The Presidency confirmed that the minister has been placed on special leave after the scandal erupted on Tuesday:
"President Cyril Ramaphosan has placed Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams on special leave for two months – one month of which will be unpaid."
Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has addressed South Africa over her lockdown lunch scandal. Apologising for her actions, Ndabeni-Abrahams accepted the punishment handed down by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
"I regret the incident and I am deeply sorry for my actions. I hope that the President and you, South Africans, will find it in your hearts to forgive me. The President has placed me on special leave and I undertake to abide by the conditions of the leave. I wish to use this opportunity to reiterate the President's call for all of us to observe the lockdown rules, they are a necessary intervention to curb the spread of the virus that has devastated many nations."
The Economic Freedom Fighters have joined the calls for Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams' removal from Cabinet.
Briefly.co.za saw that the EFF issued a statement on Wednesday, condemning the violation of the current coronavirus regulations:
"The two-month censure imposed on the Minister for breaching the lockdown is nonsensical and suggests that Ministers and Members of the Executive must be treated as if they are above the law. Ordinary citizens are subjected to the full might of the law should they breach lockdown regulations. For one to have lunch with friends while our people observe the lockdown is insulting and undermining."
Stephen Birch has been released on warning after being arrested and charged under the Disaster Management Act.
This comes after the Parow resident made headlines for posting a video to social media, claiming that the swabs used to test for Covid-19 are infected with the virus and that citizens should refuse to test.
The Democratic Alliance laid charges against him in the fallout from the clip, which outraged numerous citizens in this time of crisis. However, IOL reports that Birch would do it again, claiming he believed he was 'protecting lives':
“The magistrate released me on warning. I am not allowed to give any comment, my lawyers said I cannot talk to the media. But I am saying if I had the choice of doing it again, I would. The bottom line is I was interested in saving lives. The actions I took were in that interest, and that is it. I will not go back on my actions, and that is what I believe.”
A special National Disaster Benefit Fund was put in place by the South African government to help relieve income complications caused by the 21-day lockdown – the Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (COVID-19 TERS).
Briefly.co.za published some explanations about the process to assist those who wish to claim.
A total of R30 billion has been allocated to the fund, which will pay Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits for up to three months to qualifying workers whose incomes have been compromised as a result of the lockdown.
The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) held a meeting where the restructuring and special implementation of relief was discussed and agreed upon before the lockdown commenced.
While UIF normally only covers those not receiving an income due to unemployment, retrenchment, disease or disability and maternity leave, the policy was amended to take into account the predicted loss of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the 21-day lockdown.
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