Jacob Zuma 'not to blame for Kgalema Motlanthe award delay'

2013-11-18 16:22

The postponement of an academic honour for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was at the international relations department’s request.

This was because internal and diplomatic consultations had not been completed on time, spokesperson Clayson Monyela said today.

“To allege ‘withdrawal of the academic honour’ is factually incorrect,” he said.

“This was merely a postponement to allow for proper consultations. All affected by this postponement were informed.”

City Press reported yesterday that Motlanthe was on his way to China to receive the academic honour from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, when it was unexpectedly withdrawn, and that President Jacob Zuma had been blamed.

Motlanthe went to China to attend the Fifth Bi-National Commission.

His spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, said today he did not know if the deputy president was upset by the decision to cancel his visit to the university to accept the award.

“I don’t know if he is upset. He did not tell us. He went to China and everything went well,” Masebe said.

“The purpose for the visit was for the deputy president to attend the commission and the programme for the visit was drawn up by the department of international relations and cooperation, so it was discussed with the deputy president.”

The department and presidency denied reports that Zuma had a hand in the withdrawal.

“The reports are baseless and ridiculous,” said presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.

“Neither the president nor his private office had any knowledge of this honour that was apparently turned down until enquiries came from Media24 or Naspers newspapers.”

He said Zuma and Motlanthe continued to work well together and shared responsibilities.

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