ANC NEC member and minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele has lashed out at tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu saying her public comments about President Cyril Ramaphosa were “disgusting” and “irresponsible” lies.
According to Gungubele, Sisulu should have been fired long ago but Ramaphosa has calculated that doing so would make her the centre of attention.
Gungubele’s comments come after Sisulu’s string of comments calling for Ramaphosa’s head, criticising his leadership style and even accusing him of firing her as foreign minister for downgrading the Israel embassy to a liaison office.
The decision to downgrade the Israeli embassy was a resolution of the 2017 ANC Nasrec conference.
Speaking to the SABC, Sisulu said she felt “punished” by the decision to reshuffle her for implementing the governing party’s decisions and had expected Ramaphosa to come to her defence when the Jewish community complained about the decision to downgrade the embassy but was “left dangling alone”.
According to Gungubele, Ramaphosa could not have fired Sisulu for implementing ANC decisions and such an accusation cannot stand the test of time.
Gungubele, a staunch ally of Ramaphosa, told TimesLIVE Sisulu was lying and “irresponsible” and “reckless” for making such comments, “and to be honest it annoys me”. he says, Sisulu has never raised these issues in ANC or cabinet meetings.
“All I’m saying is that when a human being like that one, with such a track record in the struggle, is capable, in pursuit of power, in desperation, to even say such lies which she cannot back up, that is irresponsibility of the highest order. And I must say to you it’s disgusting,” said Gungubele.
Gungubele said Ramaphosa’s patience when it comes dealing with those who defy him was “unusual” but believes the head of state was being calculative.
“There is no one way of dealing with those issues. Other leaders would have actually removed you. Other leaders would have said there’s a lot on my plate, it complicates my leadership if I deal with [the issues]. Others might think you are making yourself a centre of attraction.
“Remember she would have attacked the constitution, attacked the judges, and attacked everyone, attacked the same constitution that she was party to when it was founded, attacked the judges who are key in adjudicating the most difficult disputes of the country, in a reckless manner not coming to meetings where we sit where you have opportunities to sit collectively in the ANC and cabinet.”
Gungubele defended Ramaphosa against those saying he was a weak leader who is often afraid of using his power.
“When you say he is not using it [power] I don’t think we’re correct. Let’s say he’s not used it where you expect him. We can’t say he’s not used it [power],” he said.
“In academic terms, a commission and non-commission are equated the same way. So the decision not to exercise a particular approach is also an exercise of power. Because if you didn’t have that power, somebody would force you to do it.”