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Ndabeni-Abrahams responds to uproar over image of old man 'kneeling' before her

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams claims the picture of an old man kneeling before her was misinterpreted as the man is disabled and cannot walk.

The pictures which have sparked an uproar on social media, especially Twitter, show the man seemingly kneeling before Ndabeni-Abrahams in two images, one taken inside a house and the other outside.

When contacted for her side of the story, Ndabeni-Abrahams said the picture was taken around the end of 2018 and that the old man is disabled and can't walk.

"I was on a programme, handing over Christmas parcels and heard about the man's story, and I then committed a wheelchair which was later delivered," Ndabeni-Abrahams told Sowetan Live.

She said she had also contacted GCIS after she was alerted about the picture and the uproar it is causing on social media. "Unfortunately I don't have control of what they (GCIS) take and post. When I saw the uproar on Twitter, I called the DG of the GCIS and that's all I can do," she said.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the elderly man, one of the recipients of food parcels delivered by her, walks on knees. "I had arrived at his home, and he was outside and I greeted him before we went inside the house," she said.

ANC's Carl Niehaus was among those who criticised the picture, saying: "I find this photo very disturbing. I have for years worked with Madiba and whenever something like this happened, and someone tried to kneel in front of him, he would ask that person (young or old) to stand up. Our leaders (especially such a young leader) should not allow this."

Another Twitter user also remarked: "This is to be abhorred for it's wrong on so many levels, an elder bowing before a child Stella Ndabeni who is a politician.