Mantashe: Ask Zuma's lawyers why they made reshuffle apology claim

Jacob Zuma's lawyers said Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe's apologised for making comments about the Cabinet reshuffle.

FILE: African National Congress Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe says President Jacob Zuma's legal team should answer why it claimed that he and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had apologised for publicly criticising Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, when they've made no apology.

It emerged on Wednesday morning that Zuma's lawyers had said in a legal practice note to the Constitutional Court that judges should disregard Ramaphosa and Mantashe's comments about the reshuffle, because they have since apologised for making them.

Mantashe says this claim by Zuma is wrong.

“There was no apology because we were not even asked to. We had a discussion which was very fruitful, very constructive. Nobody was asked to apologise.”

The President's document was filed as part of the case around whether members of Parliament should be allowed to vote by secret ballot in the no-confidence motion being brought against Zuma.

In the hours immediately after the reshuffle four weeks ago, Mantashe strongly criticised the decision.

At the time, Mantashe said: “As a secretary general, I felt as if this list has been developed somewhere else and given to us to legitimise it.”

Then in a legal practice note filed on Friday, President Zuma's lawyers said Matnashes and Ramaphosa had apologised for making their comments.

Mantashe says that's not true.

“Nobody was asked to apologise and so there was no apology; there could have been no apology.”

Meanwhile, former Tourism minister Derek Hanekom says he attended the ANC's last national working committee and can confirm Mantashe did not apologise for publicly criticising President Zuma's reshuffle.

In a tweet, Hanekom has responded to the reporting of Mantashe's comments, saying he's telling the absolute truth.

Hanekom lost his job in the reshuffle but has said he will stay on as an MP, which means he could also vote in the no-confidence motion.

At the same, Mantashe says he doesn't believe the fact Zuma's lawyers have said something he says is not true, shows there are huge divisions in the ANC's top leadership.

“There was no apology, there was no requirement for an apology and that is the reality of the fact.”

Last weekend Mantashe said he and other top leaders, such as ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize, could not be seen as rebels because they had raised questions about whether the governing party was properly consulted over the reshuffle.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)