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Mbeki’s office reacts to Zuma 'snub'

Spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga says Thabo Mbeki left the function early.

Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma did not acknowledge Thabo Mbeki at a Reconciliation Day event because he left the function early, the former statesman's office said on Tuesday.

The president on Monday unveiled a nine-metre tall bronze statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings.

Zuma then led a ceremony to declare the seat of government a national heritage site.

During his key-note address, the president failed to acknowledge Mbeki.

Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga says they noted some comments about Zuma's apparent omission when acknowledging guests.

But he says although Mbeki did attend the unveiling of the statue, he had leave the function by the time Zuma delivered his address.

Ratshitanga says Mbeki had to deal with peace-building matters between Sudan and South Sudan.

The unveiling of the statue came nearly a week after thousands of people booed Zuma at the Mandela memorial service at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

The crowd cheered for Mbeki.