South Africa

ANC factional battles have nothing to do with you, Ramaphosa tells Steenhuisen

The factional battles taking place within the ruling party were the business of the ANC and nobody else, President Cyril Ramaphosa told MPs on Thursday.

This comes after the suspension of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, in line with the party's step-aside resolution, which was followed by the counter-suspension of the president by Magashule, who seemingly wrote to the ANC not only appealing his suspension but claiming to suspend Ramaphosa as party president.

Taking the hot seat virtually in the National Assembly, Ramaphosa was temporarily disturbed as he was due to answer questions around SA's vaccination rollout,  gender-based violence and economic response to the pandemic, among others. 

EFF MPs questioned his legitimacy as the president of the country after the recent developments in the ANC.

“All of us who are here are representing political parties and, as far as we are concerned, Mr Ramaphosa is suspended from the organisation [ANC]. So you must clarify who he is representing because he's not permitted,” said EFF MP Floyd Shivambu.

Deputy National Assembly speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, however, dismissed Shivambu.

“We don’t know what you're talking about. As parliament, as far as we are concerned the president is here to respond to questions,” he said.

However, the issue was also raised by DA leader John Steenhuisen, who accused Ramaphosa of being caught up in factional battles while the Covid-19 threat loomed.

“You are busy waging a factional war while a third wave looms in SA. We are now in May and your ANC government is sleeping on the benches here ... There are still many heath workers who remain unvaccinated,” he said.

Responding to this, Ramaphosa said Steenhuisen was an angry man “waffling around factional battles which have got nothing to do with him”.

“When you were involved in your own battles in the DA you never heard a single one of us say anything. We did not comment because it's not our space. What happens in the DA is your business, what is happening in the ANC is not your business. It is ANC business,” Ramaphosa said.


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