'Let ANC deal with fact and fiction of leaked Zuma papers,’ says Mandla Mandela
Nelson Mandela’s grandson Inkosi Mandla Mandela has firmly denied allegations made by former president Jacob Zuma that he has joined those who want the former president prosecuted at any cost.
On Tuesday, Inkosi Mandela said the claims which are contained in the 23-page leaked speaking notes of Zuma when he met with the ANC Top Six on March 8 are simply not true.
In the notes, which have since become widely available to the public, Zuma told the Cyril Ramaphosa-led Top Six that he had no faith that the party would help him fight the Zondo Commission, and his perceived persecution was as a result of some of his comrades stabbing him in the back.
He claimed that the extent of conniving against him even saw Inkosi Mandela, whose home is in Mvezo, going to Qatar to plead with Sheikh Tamim Ibn Al Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the oil rich kingdom, to distance himself from Zuma and stop supporting him.
“I must also add, comrades, that some of you have followed me abroad to talk to people and media and my friends that I know, to plead with them that they must not support me. And some of those are my friends, and they have told me. That proved the point that it is not an accidental behaviour. Just to quote one, so that you don't say I am just making allegations for sweet nothing.
“I went to Qatar and the first issue my friend, the Emir there was my friend, told me that ’your country has been sending messages to say that I must not meet’. And that very morning, Mr Mandla Mandela was there having been given a special jet to fly there to try to stop the Emir not to meet with me. It came from his mouth, not me,” Zuma claimed in the notes.
But Inkosi Mandela said it’s all a big lie that should not be entertained by anyone who is worth his salt.
“We respond to allegations in the media this morning and reiterate that the ANC leadership is best placed to deal with the fact and fiction of the leaked Zuma papers. It is our considered view that whilst this issue may be important to some, we must as an organisation not be distracted from our core mandate of serving the people of South Africa. For the record we wish to clarify the following: We travelled to Qatar on invitation of the South African Embassy as guest of honour at the Heritage Day Celebrations in September 2018. This was a long-standing invitation and it was purely coincidental that former president JG Zuma arrived in Qatar at the same time.
“Our courtesy visit to the Emir was exactly that, a courtesy visit and conducted in the presence of officials and there was no nefarious intentions or hidden agendas at play. I arrived in Qatar on a commercial flight QR1369 and any stories about private jets are fictitious, spurious and mischievous. We have full confidence that President Zuma and the ANC leadership can deal with the substance of the "Zuma notes" and any implications arising from it. We have no part in it and with impending elections it is a sideshow we can ill afford,” Mandela said in a long statement issued to dispute Zuma’s version.
To strengthen his denial, Inkosi Mandela even produced his flight ticket which shows that contrary to Zuma’s claim that he was flown with a special jet, he used a standard Qatar airways flight.
Mandela’s grandson also took an extraordinary step of declassifying a confidential report of the meetings he had with the Emir and Emir’s sister, HH Sheikha Hind bint El Hamad CEO of the Qatar Foundation.
According to the official notes, among the issues they discussed were the mega Mzimvubu Hydro-Dam project, health and education infrastructure in Mvezo, as well as possible development in the broader OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape.
Zuma’s spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, had by the time of publishing not responded to the information from Mandela.