Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was unable to attend the ANC’s gala dinner in Sun City on Friday because he was caught up in South Sudan with plane problems, the Presidency said on Saturday.
Spokesperson Bongani Majola said it was a “shocking fabrication” on Mail & Guardian’s part to allege there was any tension between Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma because he did not attend the dinner.
“The newspaper goes on to claim that the absence of the deputy president took other leaders by surprise and also mentions a lot of other gossip and innuendo. This is preposterous,” he said.
Ramaphosa was in Juba in his capacity as a special envoy of Zuma.
He was supposed to arrive back in the country in time for the dinner.
“However, his South African Air Force plane developed technical difficulties and he had to return back home commercially. He landed back around 01:30 in South Africa during which time the gala dinner had ended.”
Majola said the defence department was exploring solutions to the problems of the current planes that broke down and caused inconvenience.
The newspaper stated that Zuma appeared to be in the dark about his deputy’s whereabouts.
It stated Zuma had to do “damage control” after ANC Women’s League treasurer and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told guests at the dinner that Ramaphosa was expected to be at the event.