Cape Town – International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has made an impassioned, if unclear defence of President Jacob Zuma, saying in a bizarre interview she has “learnt so much from that man”.
Speaking to international broadcaster Al-Jazeera, Nkoana-Mashabane shot down or deflected every criticism put forth by interviewer Jane Dutton.
Answering a question on Nhlanhla Nene’s shock removal from the finance ministry post, which cost the economy some R500bn, Nkoana-Mashabane said that even if Cabinet ministers are doing a good job, it is the president’s prerogative if he wants to remove them from their posts.
At the start of the interview, the minister seems to give a rather bizarre response to a question about the recent chaos in Parliament that saw Economic Freedom Fighters MPs thrown out.
Nkoana-Mashabane started by explaining that when she was a child she had to carry a water can on her head, and she now has a "hole in her head". The minister implied that government’s focus should be on eradicating poverty as “we [government] do not have time for such a brawl over nothing”.
The EFF was thrown out of Parliament after it stuck to its word that it would not allow Zuma to speak in the assembly after the Constitutional Court’s Nkandla ruling that found he had failed in his duties as president.
She again sidestepped questions about Julius Malema’s threats to defend his party by “the barrel of a gun” by saying that before being frightened by the EFF leader’s statement, she was frightened by seeing “an old woman carrying a water can on her head in the streets of South Africa in 2016”.
The international relations minister said the focus should be on the real issues of bringing basic service delivery to South Africans.
Watch the full interview here:-
The minister came in for some heavy criticism on social media with some South Africans saying the interview was a “spectacular mess” and saying she was “all over the place”.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane's interview with Al-Jazeera was such a spectacular mess. pic.twitter.com/00hdkih4kf— #ConceptSixty5 (@Sentletse) May 29, 2016
Want to thank Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane for the fab 'this is how NOT to do it' TV interview coaching material. #HoleInHead— Clive Simpkins (@clivesimpkins) May 29, 2016
Has anyone been able to decipher what Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was saying to Al-Jazeera yet? I'm still so lost.— Agent Provocateur (@De_Imperial) May 30, 2016
Just watched Al Jazeera interview with Maite Nkoana Mashabane. Yhu. Being a sleepist is the least of her problems pic.twitter.com/Zqty66b8QB— Ranjeni Munusamy (@RanjeniM) May 29, 2016
Min Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says she 'has a hole in the head'.— Clive Simpkins (@clivesimpkins) May 29, 2016
It's painfully evident.https://t.co/WL6URI0fzu
Was Minister Nkoana-Mashabane drunk in this Al Jazeera interview? What an embarrassing mess. https://t.co/MiNSqcP1IW— Jacques Maree (@JacquesMaree73) May 29, 2016
Disarm, deflect, deny. Hardly diplomatic. https://t.co/0nQycIxRJf— Ashleigh Hamilton (@ashRham) May 29, 2016
Watched the Al Jazeera interview with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane earlier. The minister was totally out of her depth in defending the ANC govt.— Quinton Mtyala (@mtyala) May 29, 2016