UPDATE: Presidency stands by statement despite Sisulu saying Ramaphosa lied

  • Lindiwe Sisulu has
    disowned a Presidency statement claiming she apologised for the hostile
    comments she made about the judiciary.
  • President Cyril
    Ramaphosa met with her earlier this week.
  • Sisulu says she
    stands by what she wrote.

The
Presidency said late on Thursday it stood by its earlier statement, despite
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu effectively saying President Cyril Ramaphosa
was lying by claiming she had apologised and retracted her controversial
comments about the judiciary.

“The
Presidency stands by its statement earlier this evening, 20 January 2022, on a
discussion between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Tourism Ms Lindiwe
Sisulu. The Presidency has nothing to add to the earlier statement,” the
terse statement read. 

The
Presidency had earlier issued a statement which said Ramaphosa met with Sisulu
earlier this week and admonished her.

It quoted
Sisulu as saying she accepted that her comments were “unsubstantiated,
gratuitous and deeply hurtful”.

But Sisulu
set the record straight in her own statement thereafter. 

“I
wish to categorically disown this statement in its entirety as a
misrepresentation of the said meeting I had with the president. The president
and I met on Wednesday at 21:00 at his house,” she said in a statement.

“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 said
she would issue a full statement in the next 24 hours.

READ
‘Recklessness of highest order’: Presidency ‘strongly
distances’ itself from Sisulu’s comments

Sisulu’s
comments led to a rift in the Cabinet, with other ministers denouncing her
utterances.

She
lambasted the criticism her pieces attracted, refusing to back down. 

On
Sunday, she penned another opinion piece, this time in response to an open
letter from fellow Cabinet member Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

In it, he described her column as an attack on the Constitution and judiciary,
and cautioned that “referring to judicial officers by using crude racial
tropes cannot pass off as a debate”.

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