Communication Workers Union welcomes the apology from the Minister of the Department of Communication and Digital Technologie. This comes after a photo of her and her friends having lunch, been circulated on social media platforms. The lunch gathering took place during the lockdown and therefore broke the rules of the lockdown, which all citizens are expected to abide by. This is done by the government as it attempts to curb the spread of the virus. As CWU, we were disappointed by the Minister’s behaviour and welcome a tough sanction imposed on her by the President of the Republic of two months special leave plus unpaid one month salary. The Minister then apologises in public for her actions without any reservations. As CWU we felt that the matter was handled very well by the President and it sent a clear message that no one is above the law and how serious we should take the issue of lockdown as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.
However, what worries us is what appears to be a political yet malicious motivated agenda to discredit and ultimately oust the Minister from her position. We had observed a concerted campaign unleashed on social media to attack and assassinate the character of the Minister to an extent that sexist and bigotry utterances are at play. It is our view that the Minister has erred and we do not condone her behaviour with regards to her breaking the rules of the lockdown, however; we dismiss any attempts of using this unfortunate episode to drive a narrow and disruptive political agenda. Since the appointment of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahrams, there has been stability in the Department. Her visibility, including hard working attitude have yielded a number of positive results for workers in particular and the sector in general. The Minister was hands on in resolving some of the difficult situations in a number of institutions including SABC retrenchments, USAASA shenanigans, discussions around Telkom’s retrenchments and to rescue the business from collapsing because of regulations and many other key challenging matters with the SMME’s. We are therefore jealously about these gains particularly those positively affecting workers in the sector. There is now certainties in the industry than ever before on the release of Spectrum. The commitment of government was showcased through her leadership. It was further demonstrated now during the difficult times of the lockdown when she directed ICASA to issue new spectrum that will assist the network operators to expand during the lockdown period for the benefit of the country. Furthermore, the Minister is in the forefront joining forces with CWU and the Minister of Labour in assisting unpaid workers because of challenges that came as a result of the lockdown.
The COVID 19 pandemic is a global crisis and is threatening humanity as a whole, we therefore cannot allow petty politics and opportunism to thrive and derail us from the main objective of transforming the sector. This ministry has been unstable for many years, and part of it was the perpetual changing of ministers within a short period of time. And this can never be used again to advance the same objective, and we hope that the Acting Minister would not attempt to disrupt the work that Minister Ndabeni-Abhrams has started.
Issued by the Office of the General Secretary
CWU General Secretary
Cell: 061 481 1080