Maimane chuckles at Presidency's April Fools'

2015-04-01 18:17
President Jacob Zuma. (File: AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (File: AFP)

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Cape Town - The Presidency is free to make April Fools' jokes but should be serious every other day of the year, the DA’s parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday.

"I did think it was funny. The difference is that when it comes to the presidency, there are so many other jokes that it is difficult to discern whether it April Fools' Day,” he told News24.

“I wish they could be very serious every other day of the year”.

Maimane, struggling to hold back laughter, said that South African politics was unique and that it was okay to see the humour in it from time to time.

“I really don’t have a problem with it.”

A media release sent out by the Presidency after midday stated that former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad, who held that position from 1999 to 2008, has been appointed as the new minister in the presidency responsible for public participation and interface.

Former minister of defence, Charles Nqakula, was appointed as minister of roads and traffic affairs, and ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was appointed deputy minister for social cohesion and nation-building.

News24 sent Maharaj an SMS after the statement came out asking: "We just want to confirm the new Cabinet announcements statement... is the statement accurate?"

Maharaj responded: "The new appointees have been informed and can be contacted for further confirmation."

Former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad confirmed the statement was indeed an April Fool’s Day prank.

“It’s the first of April today. It’s April Fools' day and I am very pleased to see that [presidential spokesperson] Mac Maharaj still has a great sense of humour.”

The statement caused a frenzy on social media, with news organisations and journalists questioning whether it was a joke.

University of Cape Town political sciences Associate Professor John Akokpari told News24 that he believed it was okay for the Presidency to crack jokes in certain instances.

He said it would have been a different matter if the Presidency’s statement had included sensitive issues or other countries.

“In South Africa, politics is so different and on a different set of rules. The issue at hand is not about nuclear war or issues that are considered in the world to be sensitive and serious,” he said.

It was his opinion that governments who were very free with their population, approachable and transparent “did these types of things”.

“I don’t think it is a serious issue because April Fools' is a practice which is common in Africa”.

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  mmusi maimane  |  nhlanha nene  |  zizi kodwa  |  jacob zuma  |  charles nqakula  |  essop pahad  |  cape town  |  politics  |  media

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