Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma denied that the Presidency and National Treasury are at war with each other.
Addressing parliament during a questions and answer session in the National Assembly, Zuma reiterated that he knew nothing about “a government that is at war with itself”.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made statements to this effect when he spoke at the memorial service of the late ANC stalwart Makhenkesi Stofile and repeated the stance at a summit of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) last Friday.
On Tuesday Zuma was responding to a follow-up question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane whether he agreed with Ramaphosa that he was serving in a divisive government. “Do you agree with the deputy president? What action are you taking to stop this war? Or is it benefiting you politically?” Maimane asked.
Zuma denied ever hearing the statement, or knowing about a so-called “war”.
“There is no war between the Presidency and Treasury. Huh-uh. I’m clarifying that point. Whatever perceptions people may have – and perceptions are perceptions – if people are making wrong statements, we will deal with that.”
Zuma was specifically referring to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane who had issued a statement about a cabinet decision to conduct a judicial inquiry into banks after terminating their relationship with the Gupta family. Zuma distanced himself from Zwane’s statement.
The president told MPs not to “balloon” the Zwane issue. “I’m dealing with the minister about his statement. I don’t know about any other statements made,” he said with reference to Ramaphosa’s earlier utterances.
Asked what government was doing to prevent a ratings downgrade in the coming months, Zuma named a number of interventions, including the 9-point plan, and said it was heartening that the South African economy grew by 3.3% in the second quarter of 2016.
“It’s a good sign,” Zuma said. “It’s a good sign. Our collective efforts are yielding results. We’re sending a good signal to investors and ratings agencies,” Zuma said while laughing.
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