‘I didn’t apologise to Zuma over reshuffling’ – Mantashe

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe 

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has dismissed as a lie President Jacob Zuma’s claim that he and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised for stating that they were not consulted before last month’s cabinet reshuffle.

Zuma told the Constitutional Court that Ramaphosa and Mantashe publicly apologised for stating that they were not consulted about the reshuffle in which several cabinet ministers and deputy ministers were axed.

In his response filed on Friday to the UDM’s bid to have the vote of no confidence in Zuma done through secret ballot, the president said Ramaphosa and Mantashe’s initial objection “cannot be relied on as the two subsequently publicly apologised for making them”.

However, yesterday Mantashe told the Sowetan: “That is a lie. We didn’t apologise.”

Asked if he was calling Zuma a liar, Mantashe said “Ok, bye bye” and hung up.

In Zuma’s opposing papers‚ he argued that the UDM’s claim that ANC MPs could suffer intimidation if the motion was decided by an open vote was spurious.

Zuma also said that his decision to reshuffle his cabinet last month‚ which prompted the motion‚ was lawful.

At the time of the reshuffle Mantashe‚ Ramaphosa and ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize lashed out at the president’s decision to hire and fire a slew of ministers.

But after the national working committee meeting‚ Mantashe appeared to have changed his mind, saying that Zuma had in fact consulted the ANC’s top leadership before the cabinet reshuffle.

He also rubbished reports that he and Ramaphosa had been cowed into apologising to Zuma, saying ANC officials had acknowledged that “their public dissonance on the matter was a mistake that should not be committed again”.

Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga did not respond to the Sowetan’s request for comment.- Additional reporting by TimesLIVE

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