Cyril Ramaphosa public service

Photo: GCIS

Questions for Cyril: Ramaphosa accused of ‘lying to the media’

Cyril Ramaphosa has been accused of ‘avoiding questions’ during the pandemic – but could this latest broken promise come back to haunt him?

Cyril Ramaphosa public service

Photo: GCIS

Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday, announcing some firm and polarising policies on how South Africa would tighten its lockdown laws. But you can forget the fallout from the alcohol ban, because another war of words is brewing between the president and the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef).

Did Cyril Ramaphosa ‘lie to the media’?

In a brief post on Twitter, Sanef vented their frustrations with regards to the lack of questions the president has faced from journalists during the course of lockdown. The group claims that their members have previously been promised the opportunity to grill Cyril at his last engagement, but he ‘did not keep his word’.

“Sanef pleaded with the President and his office to allow questions at the last engagement with us. The presidency and Cyril Ramaphosa himself promised to take questions. Alas, he did not keep his word.”

Sanef on Twitter

Sanef demand the right to question the president

The accusation of dishonesty leveled towards the president comes at a time where trust in the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been tested. Issues with relief grants, food parcels, and hospital capacity have all been raised recently, putting Ramaphosa and his colleagues under some serious pressure.

Although the National Coronavirus Command Council briefings allow for media questions, addresses made by the president do not. Ramaphosa did face a ‘public imbizo’ earlier this month, but his accountability to the South African media remains under tight scrutiny. It’s not clear when his next public engagement will take place, but Sanef will be desperate for the opportunity to question the president on his decision-making.