“Minister Shabangu… denies that she called Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a liar, as reported by eNCA,” her department said in a statement.
“Nowhere in [her] evidence did she state that ‘Ramaphosa (is) a liar’ as widely reported by eNews.”
The former mineral resources minister testified at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday. She was asked to recount a discussion she had with Ramaphosa the day before 16 August 2012 where 34 miners were shot and killed.
The broadcaster’s group news editor Ben Said told Sapa no on-air report had called Shabangu a liar.
“The ministry must tell us specifically where we reported this and we will investigate,” he said.
During her testimony, the commission heard that Shabangu had arranged to meet Ramaphosa on August 15, 2012, in Cape Town, on the sidelines of another meeting.
Shabangu told the commission she did not call the Marikana unrest a “criminal act”.
“I disagree with what is written here that I’ll correct my characterisation.”
Evidence leader Kameshni Pillay read from an e-mail sent by Ramaphosa to Lonmin officials about a conversation he had with Shabangu about the unrest.
“She [Shabangu] agrees that what we are going through is not a labour dispute but a criminal act. She will correct her characterisation of what we are experiencing,” it read.
At the time, Ramaphosa had business interests in Lonmin.
Questioned by Pillay on her role in the unrest, Shabangu denied the accuracy of the statement. She believed while people had died in the strike-related violence, it was still a labour issue.
In the e-mail, Ramaphosa said Shabangu would contact the police minister at the time, Nathi Mthethwa, and ensure he addressed the situation in a “pointed manner”. Shabangu again rejected this.
“That is incorrect. My intention was to raise the issue with him,” she said, adding that she was not seeking a particular reaction from him.
The broadcaster’s website, enca.com, published an online article with the headline “Shabangu calls Ramaphosa a liar” on Tuesday night.
It said: “Former Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has labelled ex-Lonmin executive Cyril Ramaphosa as a liar.
“Shabangu says she never agreed that the 2012 strike in Marikana was criminal and not just a labour dispute.
“Shabangu suggested to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana shooting on Tuesday, that it was Ramaphosa and not her, who was under pressure,” it reported.
The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, in August 2012.
Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on August 16. Over 70 were wounded and over 200 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disperse and disarm them.
In the preceding week 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.
Update: eNCA issued an apology to Minister Shabangu on Saturday, August 30. Its said:
“eNCA accepts that Minister Shabangu did not accuse the deputy president of lying.
While their individual statements in relation to the categorisation of the unrest prior to the massacre is contradictory, eNCA cannot rule out the possibility that one party is mistaken and not lying.
eNCA regrets this error and unreservedly apologises to Minister Shabangu and Deputy President Ramaphosa.”