Deputy minister of mineral resources and energy Bavelile Hlongwa. Picture: Siphiwe Moyo African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed how Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe protested when he was given outspoken Bavelile Hlongwa to work with as his deputy.

However. Ramaphosa told hundreds of mourners at Hlongwa’s funeral service in Durban on Saturday that both Mantashe and his deputy after a month of their appointment found each other and created a fruitful working relationship. 

“When I appointed them into the cabinet, he came to me and said ‘president, you have given me the deputy minister who I think I am going to have great problems working with',” said Ramaphosa to the laughter of the mourners.

He said he noticed that Mantashe was trembling with fear as he did not know how he was going to work with a deputy minister who “behaved crazy”.

“I said to him, ‘of course the deputy minister in crazy, but you are also crazy and mad’, and we both laughed. Four weeks later he came back to me and said ‘president you really helped me because my combination of being silly and crazy and hers of being silly and crazy create madness which is needed in the department.

“I am so delighted that Mantashe was able to find a wonderful comradery between himself and the late deputy minister Hlongwa, because they created absolutely wonderful and positive working relationship,” said Ramaphosa. 

Mantashe confirmed that he was first sceptical of Hlongwa but later realised her intellectual ideas and skills, which were resourceful in the department.     

“President as the department we would like to appreciate you for giving us Bavelile to work with us,” said Mantashe.

Politics Bureau