Sexwale and Sisulu make up after spat

Following below-the-belt punches which prompted the ANC to call for a ceasefire, ministers Tokyo Sexwale and Lindiwe Sisulu have smoked the peace pipe - blaming a spokesman for their perceived strife.

In a public relations exercise, the two ministers issued a joint statement yesterday claiming to be true comrades in arms.

"Ministers Sisulu and Sexwale are surprised and taken aback at complete misinterpretations of the state of their working relationship, and have vowed not to let distortions drive them apart."

The two politicians traced back their "long-established" relationship which "goes beyond the borders of South Africa".

"The ministers also have in common the fact that one serves as minister of human settlements while the other is the former minister of housing under whose leadership the 'breaking new ground' human settlements policy was developed.

"The ministers have great respect for each other and continually engage each other in a robust and direct way on issues of governance and other matters," said the joint statement.

Sisulu blamed her spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya for issuing an "unauthorised" statement on her behalf. In the controversial statement, Sisulu accused Sexwale of claiming credit for initiatives she introduced while he had not come up with any new programmes since his appointment.

The attack on Sexwale was triggered by comments he made on a radio show that he had scrapped a R22 million theatre production because it had nothing to do with the building of houses.

Sexwale also told his staff that such wasteful expenditure would not happen on his watch.

The play, A re ageng Mzansi, was introduced under Sisulu's watch. It is understood that the defence minister viewed Sexwale's comments as an attack on her.

The ANC entered the fray, calling on the two ministers to refrain from "negative debates" and rather work together to ensure that the government delivered on its mandate.

Yesterday, Sisulu's head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini, said Mabaya's statement had "not been approved" by the minister and did not "reflect the views of the minister or the department concerned".

"Administrative processes are being instituted against an official involved in the distribution... of an unauthorised statement concerning the Ministry of Human Settlements. It is not befitting of an officer of government to speak in that fashion of a minister..." said Dlamini.

Mabaya's "tone and language" were unfortunate, said Dlamini.

Mabaya did not reply when notified of the statement yesterday.

sign up