ANC apologises to Gordhan and Mchunu for ‘black engineers’ spat

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ African News Agency/ ANA

On Thursday the ANC had to backtrack on a statement that had slammed Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and ANC head of organising Senzo Mchunu.

The ANC accused them of blaming black engineers for Eskom’s woes, but Gordhan then disputed that he ever expressed this view.

In a statement on Wednesday the ANC called their comments unacceptable and unwarranted.

Gordhan then demanded an apology in a letter sent to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The minister wrote: “I want to state emphatically that I have not made any public statements diminishing the status of black engineers.”

He rejected the ANC’s statement as “extremely offensive”.

The ANC’s apology soon came in the form of another statement on Thursday evening.

They claimed to have “investigated” the pair’s statements and discovered that statements attributed to them had been “taken out of context”. They in effect blamed the media for misreporting.

“The ANC extends an unreserved apology to both Cde Mchunu and Gordhan for its statement issued following these media reports. The ANC acknowledges the importance of constructive engagement with all professionals including black engineers and the Black Management Forum,” acting spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.

The ANC said they would meet with black professionals soon to “engage on issues of mutual interest”.

Gordhan warned on Thursday: “It would appear that some individuals at Luthuli House give more credence to the orchestrated utterances of individuals like [former Eskom acting CEO] Matshela Koko, who has done so much damage at Eskom.”

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