President Ramaphosa dodges questions on Magashule suspension drama at iftar dinner
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Cape Town – Tackling state corruption, District Six land restitution, and reaffirming support for the Palestinian people, were central points in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the Muslim community at a Ramadaan programme and breaking of the fast (iftar).
Ramaphosa was the honoured guest, among several other dignitaries and religious leaders, on Thursday evening, hosted by the Greater Athlone Parliamentary Constituency Office MP Faiez Jacobs and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) at Islamia College in Lansdowne.
The visit comes during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, considered especially significant as acts of worship and charity are intensified.
“Our communities are ravaged by the economic impact of Covid-19 including business closures, difficult trading conditions, burgeoning unemployment, poverty and loss of breadwinners.
“Ramadaan trains us to live conscious of our duty to Allah and to care for our neighbours and those less fortunate.
“We are delighted to co-host the President of the Republic and to share the issues that confront Muslims especially in the wake of Covid-19,” said Jacobs and the MJC in a joint statement.
“We also choose to use this occasion to express our appreciation and support for President Ramaphosa and his leadership and calm and reassuring demeanour through a very difficult time.
“There is hardly a family that has not lost loved ones, relatives, friends and colleagues during this global pandemic.”
Video: Shakirah Thebus/Cape Argus
In attendance was the Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, retired Western Cape Judge Siraj Desai, Mandla Mandela, former Minister Trevor Manuel and ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, among others.
Desai and Jacobs paid special tribute to the founding fathers of Islam in SA, and those who had steadfastly fought in the struggle for liberation.
Ramaphosa addressed several concerns raised at the gathering, and asked the Muslim community to assist with the recovery of the nation.
“I did not come for breaking of the fast and to eat the food, I came for the communion and to be with all of you.
“This is my second iftar and I always enjoy the opportunity that it gives me to participate in the prayer, but also to be with friends and comrades and a number of comrades I haven’t seen for a long time,” said Ramaphosa.
Video: Shakirah Thebus/Cape Argus
“We have seen what corruption has done, it has robbed our people of the resources that should be available to improve their lives. The state capture that we had a few years ago will come to an end, we will bring it to an end because all of us should only be captured by the very strong determination of improving the lives of our people and not by other interests.
“Yes, many steps are being taken to rid our country of corruption and those who are corrupt and have pursued corrupt ways, will continue to fight and fight to the end because their life revolves around corruption but we will end it, and they will go where they belong,” said Ramaphosa.
“As this sacred month draws to a close, I want to call on the Muslim community to join hands with us in the national recovery and reconstruction effort as we rebuild our economy, as we work together to reposition our country.
“I call on our community and its leaders to continue to be part of the moral regeneration of our society, so that we can free ourselves from vice, crime and violence and also importantly from corruption.”
President Ramaphosa also dodged questions from reporters afterwards when he was asked about the “suspension” letter from embattled ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Magashule has rejected his temporary axing by the ANC, saying the move is unconstitutional, factional and flawed because the suspension letter was signed by his deputy Jessie Duarte, who had no powers to do so.
Magashule said on Wednesday night that he has since suspended President Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC leader in terms of resolution 8.2 of the party’’s 54th national conference held at Nasrec in 2017.
He urged ANC members not to “bow” to illegal and unconstitutional actions.
When asked about the factional battle, the president gestured with a dismissive wave, and skipped the question.
On Thursday, he also hit back at DA leader John Steenhuisen, who accused him of being caught up in ANC factional battles, when he appeared in Parliament to answer questions.
Ramaphosa told Steenhuisen that what happens in the ANC was none of his business, as the DA was also having its own factional battles.