Read my statement before you accuse me of double standards‚ Ramaphosa tells Youth League

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has hit back at African National Congress Youth League secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza who accused him of having double standards.

Nzuza had on Tuesday criticised Ramaphosa and other members of the ruling party for causing a fracas and portraying a government that is at war with itself.

Ramaphosa said Nzuza’s comments were “unfortunate and without substance”‚ and said his own statement on the matter of the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was consistent with the position adopted by President Jacob Zuma and Cabinet.

A Presidency statement called “upon commentators on this matter to familiarise themselves with the contents of Deputy President Ramaphosa’s statement before offering commentary”.

It repeated the statement for their benefit:

“I am fully cognisant of the role that the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) has to play in building a democratic society. In this regard‚ we respect the constitutional mandate that the NPA has to discharge without fear‚ favour or prejudice. This mandate has to be balanced against the constitutional rights of all individuals‚ including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

“The situation requires of all South Africans to demonstrate unity in defence of constitutional values‚ the integrity of our legal system and the objective of setting South Africa on a path of sustainable and inclusive economic growth that will help us overcome poverty‚ unemployment and inequality.

“In this regard and whatever the legal challenges that minister Gordhan may face‚ we must not undermine the work that the government jointly with leaders of business and labour have been doing to stimulate domestic and international investment in our economy and have yielded impressive outcomes across a range of industrial sectors.”

Nzuza had said on Tuesday that Ramaphosa was not acting as a leader with integrity.

“On the issue of Ramaphosa‚ you have a leader of the state institution called National Treasury and you also have a state institution called the National Director of Public Prosecutions. Both these state institutions require support through the deputy president‚ but he decides to support (Finance Minister) Pravin Gordhan and does not support another institution‚ which is the NPA‚” said Nzuza.

“To us‚ that is double standards. There are a number of leaders of the organisation who have been charged before and have appeared in court and cleared their names in court… such as the rape case of the president‚ who went to court and was found not guilty.”

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