Mantashe denies apologising for speaking against Zuma Cabinet reshuffle

President Jacob Zuma told the Constitutional Court in his documents that Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe had apologised.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has denied that he and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised for speaking out against President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle in which Pravin Gordan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were fired.

Shortly after Zuma’s reshuffle, Mantashe told Radio 702’s Xolani Gwala that the ANC’s leadership was not consulted while Ramaphosa also said the reshuffle was unacceptable.

On Wednesday morning, the Sowetan newspaper is reporting that the ANC secretary-general has dismissed as a lie Zuma’s submission to the Constitutional Court that he said sorry for publically questioning his decision.

Zuma told the court in his documents that Ramaphosa and Mantashe had apologised.

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.”

And he says he doesn’t know why Zuma had made this claim in court documents.

“The legal team must actually answer that question because in the meeting I was in, there was no apology. There was no requirement for an apology. Nobody asked for it.

Last week, he filed papers in the United Democratic Movement (UDM)’s legal challenge, in which the party wants Members of Parliament to vote in a secret ballot in the president's motion of no confidence.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) wants the High Court in Pretoria to compel Zuma to provide reasons for his decision to reshuffle his Cabinet.

It’s filed an urgent interdict to this effect, in a follow-up attempt to get answers from Zuma.

Three weeks ago, the opposition party filed a review application in the same court to test the rationality of Zuma’s decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas.

In his reply to this application, Zuma said his decision was informed by political judgment and he did not need to provide further reasons.

But the DA’s Federal Executive Chairperson James Selfe says this is not good enough.

"The president has, on several occasions, alluded to an intelligence report as being the basis for his decision to fire Mr Gordhan.

"A least he must be able to say either that the intelligence report played a role or it didn’t play a role. But either way, the public of South Africa need to know."

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)