Sisulu, Sexwale have great respect for each other

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pretoria - Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale have great respect for each other, the two departments have said.

"The ministers have great respect for each other and continuously engage each other in a robust and direct way on issues of governance and other matters," said a joint statement from the ministries on Saturday.

This follows reports in certain media on Friday alleging a spat between the two ministers.

"Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Tokyo Sexwale are surprised and taken aback at the complete misinterpretations of the state of their working relationship, and have vowed not to let distortions drive them apart."

The statement said there was a long-established relationship between them and that they continued to serve together in structures of government, as part of a united front in government's programme to provide a better life for all, in a secure South Africa.

"The two ministers have in common the fact that one presently serves as Minister of Human Settlements while the other was the former Minister of Housing under whose leadership the Breaking New Ground human settlements policy was developed.

"It is a matter of public record that many of the programmes established by former Minister of Housing Sisulu, including rectification and anti-corruption programmes, have been embraced and invigorated by the Human Settlements Ministry.

"These include the appointment of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), whose mandate has been broadened by Minister Sexwale as part of his national audit on problems affecting housing service delivery."

The ministries said that this ensured that was continuity in programmes addressing the plight of the poor.

"Projects established under Minister Sisulu are embedded in the programme of government, and Minister Sexwale has been ramping them up to a new level," said the statement.

Meanwhile, administrative processes are being instituted against an official of the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans involved in the distribution of an unauthorised statement concerning the Ministry of Human Settlements on Friday.

"While we understand that the intentions of the official involved were to correct what he regarded as distortions and misperceptions being propagated in the media, the tone and language were unfortunate, and he had no sanction to express himself under the cover of an official statement, albeit not on a letterhead," said Siphiwe Dlamini, Head of Communications in the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.

He said it was not befitting of an officer of government to speak in that fashion of a minister, whatever his or her views.

He said statements that have not been approved by the minister do not reflect the views of the Minister or Department concerned.

"The department will take the necessary remedial steps to ensure there is no repetition," Dlamini added.