Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu must know that her days as a member of Cabinet are numbered following her publicised clash with the highest office in government.
Who do we believe, Lindiwe Sisulu or the Presidency?
It’s no secret that Sisulu’s open letter, where she refers to the misuse of the rule of law and the blatant disregard of indigenous culture and practices as one of the chief reasons behind South Africa’s failed emancipation, rubbed senior officials in government the wrong way.
The minister’s remarks even prompted an unscheduled media briefing from Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and that, by the way, was not received well by the public.
Until the Presidency’s first statement, released on Thursday late afternoon, a meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Sisulu was only a speculative subject.
In the statement, Presidency Minister Mondli Gungubele noted that a meeting between the two statesmen had, indeed, taken place in Cape Town earlier this week, where Ramaphosa “admonished her about her recent article.”
The culmination of that, according to Gungubele, was a retraction by Sisulu, who was quoted as allegedly saying:
“I retract unequivocally my hurtful comments. I recognise that many women and men judges past and present have served their country in the judiciary with dedication and patriotism and some have made sterling sacrifices in the fight against apartheid and colonialism. I apologise for and regret the hurt I have caused the judiciary.”
The Presidency would, following Sisulu’s response, where she basically left Ramaphosa in a lurch, double down on this.
In her own statement, Sisulu acknowledged such a meeting taking place but stressed that Gungubele’s version of events totally contradicts what actually took place.
“In such a meeting, he shared his challenge with one aspect of the article on the judges. The president proposed an intermediary that would focus on the one line about the judges to resolve that. I awaited such to be communicated, which would do nothing to the entire article.
“Under no circumstances did I commit to any retraction or apology since I stand by what I penned. The content of the president’s statement in its current form is unfortunate as it is not what we agreed on. In this regard, I wish to distance myself from such,” she wrote.
The debacle between the minister and her senior comrade has left many to speculate about the safety of her role in government. Sisulu, however, seems unbothered.
She has yet to issue a formal response to Zondo’s rebuke.
I have noted the comments made by the Acting Chief Justice Zondo and they will be engaged with at an appropriate time in an appropriate platform.— Lindiwe Sisulu (@LindiweSisuluSA) January 12, 2022