The former deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manana, has attempted to set the record straight on the controversial visit by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to his private residence.
His statement comes after a social media post went viral which appears to be a screen grab of a post from Manana’s Instagram page. It shows the two politicians and several other people having a meal during the nationwide lockdown.
The caption reads: “It was great to host a former colleague and dear sister Cde Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams [minister of communications and digital technologies] on her way back from executing critical and essential services required for the effective functioning of our country during the nationwide lockdown.”
On Tuesday, Manana said in a statement both he and Ndabeni-Abrahams were on essential business, organising donations of personal protective equipment for students working on “Covid-19 Digital Services”.
Assisting students in need
Manana, who runs the Mduduzi Manana Foundation, said his foundation had been handing out the equipment to communities in need.
“The minister relayed to me that the students are in need of personal protective equipment [PPE] such as masks, gloves and hand sanitiser which my foundation has been handing over to marginalised communities,” Manana said in a statement.
“I then asked the minister to pass by my residence and collect the material which she gladly did.”
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Upon arrival, Manana said his family were having lunch and invited her to join them.
“She then collected the material and headed to her next assignment.”
Manana added Ndabeni-Abrahams would be making another collection on Wednesday in Menlyn, Johannesburg, where his team would be delivering the equipment.
According to its website, the foundation has the “sole aim of contributing meaningfully to vulnerable and marginalised communities in South Africa through development interventions in the area of education, focusing on early childhood development [ECD], basic education and higher education”.
Manana apologised for creating “an impression” that Ndabeni-Abrahams was on a social visit.
“In hindsight, it was irresponsible to post a picture without giving a clear context and thereby creating the impression that it was a social lunch. For this, I profusely apologise.”
Manana added he and his family were staying at home during the lockdown while his foundation continued to make “interventions” to curb the spread of Covid-19.
On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa summoned Ndabeni-Abrahams to discuss the picture.