The political tussles are already in full swing as the ANC heads to its December Elective Conference. Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu has openly defied President Cyril Ramaphosa by refuting the Presidency’s statement that she will withdraw her negative comments on the Judiciary.
In back and forth media statements, Sisulu said the Presidency’s media team was mischievous in saying she had agreed to withdraw her comments, as that was not the case.
SABC News Samkele Maseko reports:
They were once allies as running mates for the positions of President and his Deputy towards the watershed ANC 2017 Nasrec Conference. But now it seems that Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and President Cyril Ramaphosa have reached the point of no return in their relationship.
Minister Sisulu has refuted the Presidency’s statement that she was admonished by President Ramaphosa over her comments on the Judiciary and the Constitution in an article earlier this month. Sisulu says she never agreed to apologize and retract her comments.
“It is very unfortunate that the Presidency had such words. But as I am explaining to you now the minister has not apologized. She has absolutely no reason to apologize and she has no intention to apologize,” says Steve Motale – the Spokesperson for Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
Relations seem to have broken down between the President and the Minister of Tourism, who is gearing up to challenge Ramaphosa for ANC president in December.
“It is just confirming those divisions that we have been seeing in the governing party. Just last week Tony Yengeni came out supporting the statement but later NEC member Ronald Lamola said the minister was out of order, what is more, intriguing is how the president will respond,” says SABC political editor Mzwandile Mbeje.
Sisulu is also seemingly launching her campaign, as the political jostling is already in full swing.
Political analyst Clyde Ramalaine says President Cyril Ramaphosa has put himself in a tight corner making it difficult for him to take action against Tourism Minister.
Ramailane says while calls are mounting for the President to fire Sisulu, it will be difficult for him to give the reasons for his decision as the ANC initially said she did not bring the party into disrepute when she was speaking in her capacity as the Chair of the party’s chair of the Social Transformation Sub-Committee.
“It is more than fair to say the President has no option but to fire her and when he fires her the question in our minds will be – are you firing her for the article? And the answer: but you can’t because the ANC finds nothing wrong as no case against her as yet. The Chair of the ANC has said she has not brought the ANC into disrepute with her article. So it means that if he fires her he must be firing her because she said he lied now …” -Additional reporting by Ntebo Mokobo