In a tweet on her Twitter account, Mazibuko revealed that she was invited to the event by ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula, whom she affectionately referred to as Razzmatazz.
At the gathering of academics and professionals in conversation with Ramaphosa in Johannesburg, Mazibuko was spotted sitting next to ANC national executive committee member Ronald Lamola.
Some DA leaders have anonymously expressed discomfort over Mazibuko’s presence at the event.
DA federal council chairperson James Selfe said he was not particularly surprised at Mazibuko’s presence at the gathering.
Mazibuko did not respond to calls for comment.
“She’s now a consultant in her own right, she does a lot of networking. I’m neither surprised, nor concerned,” said Selfe.
Former DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who had recruited Mazibuko into the DA, would not comment on the latest sighting of her former protégé, instead leaving cryptic messages on her WhatsApp status.
But a senior DA MP who spoke to Independent Media on condition of anonymity said he was disappointed at Mazibuko’s presence at the event. However, he said the party would respect her position if she were to join the ANC.
In a later tweet, Mazibuko clarified that despite of her fondness for Ramaphosa, she was not joining the ANC.
Twitter friends, please let us be mature in politics. The @MYANC invited me to an event with @CyrilRamaphosa and I was delighted to attend. My fondness for our president is a matter of public record. This does not mean I support or wish to join the ANC. 🙏🏾— Lindiwe Mazibuko (@LindiMazibuko) May 31, 2018
Another DA MP, who had been an aide to Mazibuko when she was parliamentary leader, said she was free to make whatever political choices suited her.
“But it would have been a lot more palatable if it was a government event. It was a little bit of a shock,” he said.
One other DA MP who had served under Mazibuko said many of those in the parties were surprised and Thursday night the picture of her, seated next to Lamola, spread like wildfire in several party WhatsApp groups.
“The first tweet (from Mazibuko) was a bit mischievous,” said the MP. Within the DA there is widespread speculation that Mazibuko is contemplating a return to Parliament and will subject herself to the party's selection process for prospective MPs, which is currently under way.
A DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal was however supportive of Mazibuko, saying that she had never been invited to address party platforms.
“People were panicking on Thursday night, that's why she had to clarify (that she had not joined the ANC). They are just worried that she's competition for them on the party’s list to Parliament,” said the DA leader.
During a panel discussion on the role of business in South Africa in 2017 Mazibuko said she supported then presidential hopeful Ramaphosa to win the ANC elective conference.
Mazibuko left her party in 2014 to further her studies at Harvard where she obtained a Master's degree in public administration.
When she resigned some leaders said her resignation was a blessing in disguise to save the party from a battle for the position of a parliamentary leader.
At that time, current DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Mazibuko were gunning for the position of parliamentary leader of the party.
Mazibuko announced her resignation in an interview with the Sunday Times before she had informed Zille, who was at that time DA party leader.
Mazibuko has on numerous occasions denied that her exit had anything to do with her differences with Zille.
Embattled City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille also weighed in on Mazibuko’s assumed return to the political scene.
De Lille said Mazibuko was within her right to choose whichever path she wished, either in politics or business.
“Lindiwe is a businesswoman in her own right. She attended the event in her capacity as a business person, and as a professional. I am sure other business people who belong to other political parties attended the event.
“I have great respect for her. She has once made a statement to say that we must all honour our paths, but we must design our future. What she wants to do with her political career is up to her,” said De Lille.