The African National Congress (ANC) has released a statement denying the party has any knowledge of, or intention of engaging in, an upcoming debate between President Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
The SABC issued formal invitations to both Maimane and Ramaphosa, saying the debate would take place on SABC 2 on April 28 subject to the president’s making himself available.
The ANC has now poured cold water over reports that the debate may take place, saying the party “refuses to be cajoled into a debate that never was between the ANC president, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, with the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane”.
“We strongly dispute what is currently being touted by the SABC, that the organisation has confirmed or is even aware of a debate between its statesman and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane,” the statement continues.
This follows Maimane saying on Tuesday he was “looking forward” to debating Ramaphosa prior to the May 8 general election.
“Today I received a formal invite to participate in the Big Debate’s official presidential debate to be held on April 28, 2019, and aired live on SABC 2 and various SABC radio stations. I welcome this initiative and look forward to going toe-to-toe with Cyril Ramaphosa to debate our respective plans to deal with our country’s most pressing challenges,” said Maimane in an e-mailed statement.
He said it was “high time” that “real solutions” were debated in the areas of economic growth, job creation, corruption, health and safety, and security.
The debate would provide an opportunity to display the differences between ANC and DA policy, said Maimane.
“Voters are best empowered to make informed decisions when presented with the government track record and credible policy offers of those seeking to lead our nation. Instead of orchestrating and endorsing violent ‘shutdown’ protests, the ANC president ought to come to this debate and present his plans and policies to the electorate.
“Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to create a culture of transparency and accountability, and this provides him with a perfect opportunity to break with the past and show South Africans he is different to his predecessor,” said Maimane.