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By Citizen Reporter


Sisulu pens another article slamming ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang, ‘other reactionaries’

Sisulu described Msimang's criticism of her opinion piece as 'uninformed, rhetoric-laden, and incoherent'.

After receiving a stinging rebuke from Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo over her controversial opinion piece in which she criticised the constitution and judiciary, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has penned yet another article in response to the widespread criticism she has received.

However, her latest opinion piece has been slammed by some social media users for allegedly plagiarising parts of a speech made by former UK attorney-general Dominic Grieve in September 2013.

Sisulu’s spokesperson Steven Motale has denied this, saying the long-serving cabinet minister and ANC veteran did not plagiarise Grieve as she had cited the author in the article.

ALSO READ: ‘Rich in insults, poor in analysis’ – Zondo responds to Sisulu’s criticism

In her latest article, Sisulu defended her piece published last week by IOL saying her statements were her “contribution to a conversing South Africa where discourse, as guaranteed in the spirit and letter of the constitution, is underscored as a crucial tenet of our democracy.”

“I remain humbled and heartened to have seen the responses of a cross-section of our South African society taking the time to read, engage and comment on it,” she said.

Sisulu emphasised that she made her opinions in her personal capacity in her initial article, saying “that, however, did not assist those who, for expediency, narrowly read it as a cabinet minister writing”.

“I thought it necessary to contextualise my opinion since several commentators either misread or willfully ignored what capacity I penned the op-ed. Unfortunately, some have read into my views the subject of ill-discipline for which there is no substance,” she said.

READ MORE: Sisulu ‘consulting legal team’ on Zondo as DA calls for public apology

The minister said, as the chair of the ANC’s social transformation sub-committee, it was her responsibility to engage to ascertain real progress on transformation in South Africa since the fall of apartheid rule.

This included the “often conflated, and for some thorny matters of economic transformation, the land questions and all other issues that have a material bearing,” Sisulu said.

“Therefore, my opinion piece was in the spirit of the obligation of assessing our progress less from an elitist setting but in the attempt of the ordinary South African for whom freedom remains a mirage and justice often an impossibility.”

Sisulu slams Mavuso Msimang

Sisulu also responded to ANC veteran Mavuso Msimang who had accused her of an “extraordinary attack on South Africa’s constitution”, describing his article published on Daily Maverick as “uninformed, rhetoric-laden, and incoherent”.

“I have chosen to write to dispel the false narrative that Msimang and other reactionaries seek to suppress robust and honest debate within the ANC.

“At the same time, they enforce censorship over the members who freely express their opinions about the state of our democracy and other matters of vital interest to the ANC.”

Sisulu ‘crossed the line’

Zondo on Wednesday hit back at Sisulu for her controversial opinion piece, saying she had “crossed the line” with her remarks that amounted to what he called “an unwarranted attack on the country’s judiciary”.

In the opinion piece, Sisulu argued that the constitution was a “neo-liberal” document that had done little to bring about social justice for apartheid victims, and also seemed to be likening the country’s judiciary to what she called “house negroes” and said black politicians had become “black assets for colonised capital”.

Zondo said the judiciary had never said it should not be criticised, only that the criticism should be fair and have proper factual basis.

In response, Sisulu said she was consulting with her legal team on Zondo and would respond to his comments at the right time.

“I have noted the comments made by the Acting Chief Justice Zondo and they will be engaged with at an appropriate time in an appropriate platform. I am in consultation with my legal team,” said Sisulu on social media.

Sisulu and Zondo’s comments have solicited both criticism and praise from their respective supporters, including politicians and civil society organisations.

While the Democratic Alliance called on President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the head of the executive, to instruct Sisulu to retract and issue a public apology, the EFF slammed Zondo, calling him “an attention-seeking Barry White with no political understanding”.

“It was not Zondo’s place to respond to the minister, because she is far better placed to assess the social and political conditions in this country as someone tasked with that responsibility,” said the party in a statement.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde.

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