The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday refuted a newspaper report that its leadership is involved in an alleged plot to oust President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The ANC will not dignify these blatant lies and fabrications with a detailed response,” the party said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
The local Sunday Times newspaper claimed this weekend that former president Jacob Zuma held a secret meeting in Durban with key ANC officials, including the party’s Secretary-General Ace Magashule, to plot the downfall of Ramaphosa.
Besides Magashule, those at the meeting also included former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, ANC Women’s League Secretary General Meokgo Matuba and ANC Youth League KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo, the report said.
“We are disappointed that the Sunday Times, in a very irresponsible and dangerous manner, proceeded to publish this misleading story,” ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said.
He said the ANC rejects attempts to link its secretary general to this alleged plot.
“It is clear that this malicious gossip is calculated to cast aspersions on the integrity and commitment of our secretary general to the unity and renewal project of the African National Congress,” Mabe said.
The ANC calls on its members and the public at large not to be misled by this factually baseless story, he said.
“We urge the Sunday Times to immediately retract this story which is nothing but incoherent political gossip that has the potential to undermine the unity of the movement,” Mabe said.
The ANC, he said, supports freedom of the press but believes that such freedom should be exercised with care and responsibility.
Emerging from a fierce internal rivalry within the ANC, Ramaphosa replaced Zuma as the ANC president in late 2017 and became the president of the nation in February this year following the resignation of Zuma.