Recent reports alleged that top ANC officials plotted to embarrass ex-president Jacob Zuma during a gala hosted after the launch of the ruling party’s manifesto.
According to Africa News 24-7, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza and ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile played a part in an apparent plot to see Zuma excluded from the event.
Allegedly the plan had been for Zuma to either miss the dinner altogether or to arrive so late that he would not be acknowledged by speakers at the event. The report claims that the hope had been for the ex-president to appear disrespectful.
According to the report by Africa News 24-7, Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, the former president’s wife, had accompanied him to the event.
Steve Motale reports that Zuma had arrived on time and had been told by protocol officials to wait in a holding room, where Ramaphosa would retrieve him at a later stage.
When it became clear that the President would not be coming, the Zuma’s had walked to the venue, where they had arrived after guests had already taken their seats.
Fikile Mbalula reportedly did not acknowledge the ex-president's presence during his address.
A video has been found of top ANC officials in a separate room before the gala.
Although it cannot be said for certain what is meant by the conversation, one can speculate as to its connotations.
The clip shows Minister Gwede Mantashe entering the room and he begins to greet officials. David Mabuza greets him and Mantashe says:
“Into yakho angiyiqondi kakuhle.”
“This thing of yours, I don’t fully understand it.”
To which Mabuza replies:
“Awuyiqondi kakuhle, intoyami? Uzoyiqonda,”
“You don’t understand this thing of mine? You will understand it.”
Mantashe greets other officials in the room, then returns to Mabuza who asks:
“We Shlalo uthi kwenzenjani?”
“Chairperson, what did you say is happening?”
Mabuza asks in reply:
“Eyiphi into esiyi planayo?”
“What is it that we are planning?”
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that the ANC was not aware of any plot and would ‘discourage conspiracy that has no basis and will amount to gossip”, further saying:
“When the gala dinner programme started, the former president hadn’t arrived, when acknowledgements were done by the programme director. It was agreed that President Ramaphosa will do so in his address, and he did acknowledge [Zuma],”
Jacob Zuma, however, did not agree with this version of events:
“We were given a particular time to arrive at the venue and we arrived earlier than the time we were given. We were then ushered to a holding room by a lady from protocol who told us to wait until comrade Ramapahosa collects us. We waited for several minutes until we heard the national anthem being sung. Even after the singing of the anthem nobody came to pick us up as promised. The lady from protocol came and she too was surprised that we were still there and nobody had come to pick us up. We then decided to walk to the venue on our own,”
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