African National Congress (ANC) secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, has disputed a claim by President Jacob Zuma that he has apologised for publicly criticising the Cabinet reshuffle.
Zuma said Mantashe and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have apologised in papers submitted to the Constitutional Court.
The President filed documents as part of the case brought by the United Democratic Movement (UDM) asking for Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote by secret ballot in the no-confidence motion.
Ramaphosa and Mantashe publicly criticised the President for removing Pravin Gordhan as the finance minister and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas last month.
In court papers, Zuma's lawyers say utterances made by Ramaphosa and Mantashe cannot be relied on as the two have subsequently apologised.
Speaking to EWN senior reporter, Stephen Grootes, Mantashe says he has never apologised to the President.
There was no apology. We were not even asked to.— Gwede Mantashe, ANC secretary general
Daily Maverick associate editor, Ranjeni Munusamy, says Ramaphosa and Mantashe are now putting a distance between what Zuma has done and themselves.
Munusamy says factional divide within the ANC is getting deeper.
The only thing there is a regret about is that they all disagreed publicly, and that's not a desirable thing for the ANC. They are certainly maintaining their position that the Cabinet reshuffle was wrong and the process of consultation was wrong.— Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor at Daily Maverick
We don't know how President Zuma lawyers are going to explain what they mean by saying Mantashe and Ramaphosa apologised.— Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor at Daily Maverick
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This article first appeared on 702 : "I never apologised" Gwede Mantashe