President Cyril Ramaphosa (File, News24)
*Note: This story has been updated to reflect the DA's response to the ANC denying that a debate was going ahead.
The ANC has denied that President Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader Mmusi Maimane will participate in a debate on SABC, 10 days before the elections.
This comes after Maimane on Tuesday seemingly confirmed a possible screening of the debate on the public broadcaster.
"The African National Congress refuses to be cajoled into a debate that never was between the ANC president, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, with the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane," the party said in a curt statement on Wednesday.
"We strongly dispute what is currently being touted by the SABC, that the organisation has confirmed or is even aware of a debate between its statesman and the DA's Mmusi Maimane."
On Tuesday, Maimane said he welcomed the opportunity to participate in a debate with the president and said it would provide an opportunity for transparency from Ramaphosa.
"Today I received a formal invite to participate in The Big Debate's official Presidential Debate to be held on 28 April 2019 and aired live on SABC 2 and various SABC radio stations.
"I welcome this initiative and look forward to going toe-to-toe with Cyril Ramaphosa to debate our respective plans to deal with our country's most pressing challenges."
However, broadcaster Redi Thlabi took to Twitter to say the other guests had not confirmed yet, and that it included EFF leader Julius Malema.
"Today, the ANC has confirmed that Cyril Ramaphosa is afraid of facing up to the DA leader. He has again confirmed more empty promises of transparency and accountability, just like his empty promises of acting against corruption.
"It has been 25 years since the last presidential debate in South Africa. Since then, the ANC has denied the people of South Africa a proper contest of ideas between its presidential candidate and DA leaders."
The DA claimed Ramaphosa's "retreat into the safety of Luthuli House" confirmed he was no different from his predecessors.
"He is simply afraid of accounting for Marikana, Bosasagate and the ANC's inability to create jobs."
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