'Politcally logical thing to do' could be to relieve Sisulu of duties - analyst

Nelson Mandela Metro University's Ongama Mtimka said the public spat has the potential to undermine the authority and political standing of the president.

FILE: Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: @The_DHS/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Analysts say President Cyril Ramaphosa didn't have a lot of options, but to take decisive action when it came to those challenging his authority.

This as the country attempts to make sense of Thursday night's tit-for-tat between his office and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu over her controversial opinion piece criticising black judges.

An initial statement from Ramaphosa's office claimed she had been admonished, was apologetic and would retract the piece.

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Sisulu denied this, calling him a liar and on Friday morning, she blamed the president's communication team for misrepresenting how a meeting between them played out.

Nelson Mandela Metro University's Ongama Mtimka said the public spat had the potential to undermine the authority and political standing of the president.

"The politically logical thing to do would be for the president to take action, which will regain that lost political ground that could be relieving the minister of her duties."

Director of the Political Futures Consultancy, Daniel Silke, said while he believed the minister had overplayed her hand, she had successfully put the president in a tight corner.

He said if Ramaphosa chose to appease Sisulu, he would look weak to the greater public.

"If he takes action against her, I suspect that he will receive a fair amount of praise for those actions. Not necessarily from those forces he wishes to protect, but a much-broader base of South Africans."

Both analysts admit it’s hard to assess whose version of events is true.