An image allegedly showing labour minister Thulas Nxesi flouting the lockdown regulations on Thursday by socialising without a mask is an old picture, the department of employment and labour said on Friday.
It said in a statement the image is not from New Year’s Eve but was taken in 2017.
The statement reads:
“Minister Thulas Nxesi notes with great concern the photo that has been trending on social media portraying him acting in contravention of the Disaster Management Act regulations put in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Minister Nxesi would like to put it on record that the picture was taken on December 31 2017, during a private social gathering with friends. The photo which shows the minister asleep on a sofa, in the company of friends has been interpreted by most as evidence that the minister broke lockdown regulations as announced by the president last week.”
The statement reads that posting the image now, during a pandemic and after the minister himself suffered from Covid-19 “is not only reckless but irresponsible to the extreme”.
The statement was retweeted by Nxesi who reiterated: “I would like to put it on record that the picture was taken on December 31 2017 during a private social gathering with friends.”