Presidency denies Zuma briefing sms

Baloyi confirmed that no such text message was sent by the Presidency. (Moeletsi Mabe/Gallo)

Baloyi confirmed that no such text message was sent by the Presidency. (Moeletsi Mabe/Gallo)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has said that President Jacob Zuma will address the country at 10am on Wednesday morning, despite the Presidency denying it sent an SMS last night which contained the same information.

Gigaba was speaking to CNN, where he said that the ANC caucus in Parliament would meeting after Zuma makes his statement.

“It’s [the caucus meeting] going to take place an hour after President Zuma would have addressed the nation at 10 o’ clock in the morning,” Gigaba said.

An SMS announcing that President Jacob Zuma will brief the media on Wednesday morning was not issued by the Presidency, according to the Presidency’s  deputy director of communications.

The SMS, which purports to have been issued by Shadi Baloyi, claims Zuma will make a statement at the Union Buildings at 10am.

The text message reads: “Dear colleagues, please note that tomorrow at 10h00, union buildings, President Zuma will hold a media briefing.
Kindly send me assigned team names. Thanks. Shadi Baloyi.”

But Baloyi confirmed that no such text message was sent by the Presidency.

“We have not issued a statement. We don’t know about any SMS,” she said.

The text message is the latest in a string of suspicious misinformation that has surfaced during the ANC’s continuing discussions to fire Zuma.

The BBC says it has confirmed with the Presidency that Zuma will brief the nation on Wednesday, but Baloyi denies that the Presidency has issued an SMS or statement to that effect. Journalist Pumza Fihlani subsequently deleted the tweet that said the Presidency had confirmed Zuma will address the nation.

Last week, the Presidency was forced to clarify that a statement announcing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrival in South Africa on the same day that the State of the Nation was originally scheduled, was “fake”.

The reports that Putin would be entering the country surfaced after the State of the Nation address (SONA) was postponed and speculation began that the ANC was in talks to get Zuma out of office.

Other sources indicate President Zuma will indeed address the country on Wednesday, but the time and place has not been communicated as yet.

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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