Cyril Ramaphosa COVID-19 Brookes Balwin

Photo: Presidency / Twitter

Ramaphosa accused of breaking own COVID-19 rules – but it’s ‘fake news’

Cyril Ramaphosa was said to have shaken hands with the Balwin CEO on Sunday, without wearing a mask. However, the claim has now been debunked.

Cyril Ramaphosa COVID-19 Brookes Balwin

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.

Did Cyril Ramaphosa break the COVID-19 rules? No…

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:

A tale of two images

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:

Cyril Ramaphosa and Stephen Brookes

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:

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…