Johannesburg – The Presidency on Thursday said an article published on Biznews.com, reporting that President Jacob Zuma withdrew from the CNBC Africa debate in Davos at short notice was false.
The site’s editor and publisher, Alec Hogg, wrote, “Last night Zuma withdrew from the panel, offering his able and recently re-instated Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan instead. But that ‘downgrade’ was unacceptable to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who threatened to withdraw rather than share the stage with Gordhan. So, at the last minute, Rwanda’s third-term seeking President Paul Kagame was drafted into Zuma’s seat, placating the Ethiopian.”
The Presidency said there was no truth to the article.
“This is untrue and very mischievous,” said spokesperson Bongani Majola.
“The Presidency informed the organisers last week that the president would be unable to participate in the debate. The Presidency advance team in Davos also continuously informed the organisers that the President would not participate.
“We reject the spreading of lies by Hogg, who seems determined to mislead the public about this matter,” said Majola.
He accused Hogg of trying to tarnish the Davos visit which the Presidency has hailed a success.
“The visit to Davos is going very well. South Africa has been received positively. The message that South Africa is open for business is being communicated by the President, Ministers and business leaders in all sessions in Davos,” he said. – Sapa