South Africa News

ANC’s Pule Mabe: No public spat between Ramaphosa and Sisulu

The African National Congress (ANC) says it believes there is no public spat between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

This follows Thursday night’s drama, in which the Presidency claimed Ramaphosa had admonished Sisulu during their meeting in Cape Town the day before about her controversial opinion piece published on IOL, criticizing the Constitution and judiciary.

Speaking to SABC News, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe refrained from commenting on whether the Sisulu matter has been discussed in the party’s ongoing two-day Lekgotla.

He said the meeting reflected on service delivery, unemployment, and economic recovery, among other issues.

“The [ANC] will never convene a meeting to discuss utterances made by individual members out in the public. We have [indicated] that we will issue one consolidated statement at the end of the lekgotla which [will] reflect on the [matters] of the national executive committee [NEC], but also then deals with programmatic interventions that movement would have adopted coming out of the meeting,” he said during the interview.

The ANC’s lekgotla got underway virtually on Saturday following the party’s NEC meeting, which took place on Thursday and Friday.

Mabe, meanwhile, insisted that the ANC was of the view that there was no tit-for-tat exchange, saying the party was not going to “feed into a media narrative that suggests a spat”.

“We do not believe that there was a public spat,” the ANC spokesperson said.

Mabe highlighted that the ANC supports the country’s judiciary, adding that every party member was entitled to their own opinion.

“The ANC has already pronounced itself on matters that deal with the judiciary. We support the independence of the judiciary [and] we have actually come out to encourage members that where they have got their views… the organization has sufficient platforms to allow every member, regardless of their [position in the party], to be able to ventilate on those [views],” he continued.

Sunday Times reports that NEC members at the meeting have overwhelmingly sided with Ramaphosa, calling on the President to show Sisulu “no leniency”.

According to the publication, former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom allegedly called for Sisulu to be summoned before the ANC’s integrity commission for undermining Ramaphosa, although Tony Yengeni came to her defence.

Meanwhile, the publication has stated that the ANC’s top six officials has left the Sisulu matter for the national working committee (NWC) to decide whether to escalate it to the NEC.

Therefore, the matter was not in the NEC’s meeting agenda.

According to the statement released by the Presidency on Thursday, Sisulu had apparently retracted her criticism of the judiciary and African judges, in particular, conceding that her comments were “inappropriate, unsubstantiated, gratuitous and deeply hurtful”.

In a surprise move, Sisulu distanced herself from the statement, saying “under no circumstances did I commit to any retraction or apology, since I stand by what I penned”.

The Presidency said it stood by its earlier statement, despite Sisulu effectively saying Ramaphosa was lying by claiming she had apologized and retracted her remarks about the judiciary.

The minister argued in another statement released on Friday that at no point in her conversation with the president was she “admonished or expressed regrets”, resulting in her agreeing to withdraw or apologize for her opinion piece.

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