African National Congress (ANC) veteran Tokyo Sexwale has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s handling of Deputy President David Mabuza’s claim that the Eskom board had misled Ramaphosa over load shedding.
On Thursday, Mabuza said the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan had misled Ramaphosa into promising that there would be no load shedding until 13 January. Load shedding has been implemented before that date.
The Presidency’s spokesperson Khusela Diko later told TimesLIVE that Ramaphosa had not been misled because there had not been any “planned” load shedding.
‘Deal with issue privately’
She said, “We didn’t see any planned load shedding during December and right now we are dealing with something that has been totally unplanned.”
However, speaking during an interview with Sakina Kamwendo on SABC News on Friday, Sexwale said Ramaphosa should not have sent his spokesperson to respond to Mabuza’s claim.
He said, “I think there’s a place for this – it’s called private. Deal with this issue and then come out with one voice.
“For me, if I was in that position, it’s not a spokesperson issue. You know, this lady [Diko], she’s doing quite well in her work, but sometimes you’ve got to be careful with the kind of things that you allow your spokesperson to deal with.”
Sexwale equally slammed Mabuza for saying publicly that Ramaphosa was misled, adding that it was “worrisome” for him to have done so.
He added that Ramaphosa shouldn’t have publicly claimed that there was sabotage at Eskom in December.
The ANC veteran said, “People manipulate presidents and leaders… You don’t read everything they put in front of you as a leader because they turn you into a puppet.
“Even the board at Eskom cannot say sabotage… It’s a huge [thing]. I’ve been in jail for sabotage, so I understand what sabotage is. It’s almost treason. It’s not a word that can be used flippantly, let alone by the President.
“Shield the President from that… But shortly after getting out of the plane [from Egypt] you talk about that, then it causes these problems of being misled and then somebody says he’s not misled, and somehow we’re looking for him, what does he say himself… So, it’s sloppy to attend to things in that manner.”
Nevertheless, Sexwale said he remains a supporter of Ramaphosa as well as Mabuza, adding that he “believes in the two leaders.”
He downplayed suggestions that there could be disunity between the two leaders because “the media, that’s the space they play in.”
To watch the interview on YouTube, click here.