Photo: Presidency / Twitter
Photo: Presidency / Twitter
President Ramaphosa faced a barrage of abuse on Sunday after he was alleged to have defied his own COVID-19 prevention rules. A photo of a maskless Cyril shaking hands with Balwin Property CEO Stephen Brookes got the conspiracy theorists buzzing – but ultimately, this non-story has been debunked.
Several prominent Twitter accounts – including Julius Malema’s – circulated the image over the weekend. Ramaphosa and Brookes attended the launch of the Mooikloof project in Gauteng, sparking a flurry of criticism:
The powerful, you are patted down by fools you were supposed to be leading @CyrilRamaphosa. Sies, o tšhaba makgowa… pic.twitter.com/AHa9TuaY8X— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) October 4, 2020
Here is the picture of the Pres and Steven Brooks that the listener on #TheCMShow was talking about. pic.twitter.com/rch0vKYnAZ— Clement Manyathela (@TheRealClementM) October 5, 2020
No Masks, No Social distancing, Hand Shaking ? Cyril Ramaphosa & Stephen Brookes of Baldwin Properties breaking the COVID19 regulations during the launch of Mooikloof Project.@News24@Newzroom405@SABCNews@eNCA@dailymaverick@EFFSouthAfrica@Our_DA pic.twitter.com/TaUhZwPRrr— Nangamso (@Joycehurt6) October 4, 2020
However, the photo in question is an old one. When Cyril Ramaphosa and Stephen Brookes met on Sunday, both of them were wearing different clothes to what was seen in the photo above. The weather was a lot moodier yesterday, and both men had attended the event in face-masks. It’s likely the picture circulating online was taken pre-pandemic.
This, however, was a snap taken from yesterday – and you’ll notice the aforementioned differences:
Fake news: that’s the old picture, @PresidencyZA was wearing this yesterday pic.twitter.com/K3Odyqp0Mm— ❌ eki (@XekiHlongwane) October 5, 2020
And, just for any remaining skeptics, the Presidency Tweeted this video of Ramaphosa meeting Brookes on Sunday. Both wore masks, there were no handshakes – and the property mogul had his hands full, carrying his infant son:
President @CyrilRamaphosa arrives for the launch of the #Mooikloof Mega Residential City and is received by Premier @David_Makhura, Minister @LindiweSisuluSA, Minister @PatriciaDeLille and Dr @Kgosientsho_R #GrowSouth and Mr Stephen Brookes of @BalwinProp #GrowSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/9AcvuAg0RU— Presidency | South Africa ?? (@PresidencyZA) October 4, 2020
However, the issue of the ‘handshake that wasn’t’ has quickly been dismissed by critics anyway. Social media users have questioned the professional relationship between Ramaphosa and Brookes. The Balwin CEO has been a long-time supporter of the ANC, raising a few dissenting suspicions about the tender process for Mooikloof.
All parties are adamant that the agreement is above board, and South Africa’s new ‘mega city’ will be fully functioning by 2027. Hopefully by then, Ramaphosa has toned it down with those rascal shirts of his. Jazzy beyond words…