Is he tired or avoiding load shedding questions? Ramaphosa withdraws from ANC events

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has withdrawn from two ANC events amid speculation that he may be avoiding facing questions about load shedding following comments by his deputy David Mabuza.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to lead a Thuma Mina walk in Galeshewe, Kimberley, before participating in the party’s golf day as part of its week-long birthday celebrations.

However, late on Thursday night, the party said this would no longer be the case.

The ANC said Ramaphosa would address a gala dinner on Friday evening.

The developments come less than 24 hours after Mabuza said Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Eskom board "misled" Ramaphosa about the threat of load shedding during the festive season.

MUST READ | Presidency says no 'malicious intent' in Mabuza's load shedding comments - report

Speaking on Friday morning, the party's treasurer general Paul Mashatile said Ramaphosa was simply tired.

"I spoke to the president last night. He was supposed to tee off and play today but because he had a very heavy schedule since he arrived here, he requested me to take over and it was understood," Mashatile said at the golf day.

He added that there was "nothing sinister really". 

"Playing golf can be hectic and remember he has to address the dinner tonight."

When Mabuza was asked whether Gordhan and the parastatal's board had misled Ramaphosa, he said: "They’ve misled the president, but right from the day we went there with the president, I insisted on maintenance. Maintenance of these power stations is very important."

He was referring to president's comments in December that there would be no load shedding "of any form" from December 17 to January 13.

However,  Stage 2 load shedding was suddenly implemented over the weekend.

ALSO READ | Gwede Mantashe accused of hindering efforts to tackle SA's electricity crisis

On Thursday, Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko said they believed there was no "malicious intent" behind the deputy president’s comments.

"I have no doubt that the deputy president did not intend, nor did he infer any malicious intent on the part of the minister nor the chair of Eskom. Indeed, there has not been any planned load shedding as per the commitment that was made by Eskom to the president," said Diko.

Meanwhile, ANC insiders claim the comments have caused friction between the two leaders, but national spokesperson Pule Mabe dismissed these claims.

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