Following rumours of his publicly denied illness, President Cyril Ramaphosa has returned to Mbombela just in time for the ANC’s 112th birthday celebrations ahead of the party’s January 8 Statement on Saturday.
On Sunday, Ramaphosa had to cut short some of his scheduled activities in Mpumalanga to return home to attend to an unspecified emergency which resulted in social media rumours suggesting the president had taken ill.
These rumours were denied by Presidency spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, who on Sunday set the record straight about the real reasons behind Ramaphosa’s staying at home on Sunday.
Magwenya, taking to social media, described the rumour as “malicious”.
“A malicious rumour has been doing the rounds about the president's health and that he has been hospitalised. The president is fine, he was never hospitalised, and there was no emergency.
“He attended a meeting and decided to spend the rest of the day at home ahead of a busy week,” Magwenya said on X on Sunday.
This came after ANC spokesperson, Mahlengi-Bhengu Motsiri, had indicated that Ramaphosa had to attend to an emergency that prevented him from continuing with some of his responsibilities in Bombela.
On his return to Mbombela on Monday, Ramaphosa explained why he was not available for some of his engagements on Sunday.
Ramaphosa said after attending a meeting, he was advised by ANC officials to remain at home so that he is able to tackle the next six days in Mbombela well-rested.
After this meeting, he said, he decided to take it easy and work from home.
“I had meetings and I then continued working from home, purely on the instructions of the officials who said we want to be well-preserved for the next six days.
“So, the news of my illness is extremely exaggerated. I am fit as a fiddle and I had no illness whatsoever. I did not collapse at all,” Ramaphosa told members of the media in Mbombela.
On Monday, upon his return, Ramaphosa is expected to take part in the wreath-laying and pilgrimage at the grave sites of ANC Struggle veterans in Louwville Cemetery as well as the cutting of the cake event at the Mbombela Stadium and a luncheon with families of the stalwarts and veterans.