Paper in row over Maimane “leadership classes” claims

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 29, 2016

The Mail and Guardian has reportedly refused to back down on a report that Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane, had been receiving so-called leadership classes from former President FW de Klerk.

According an article in paper on Friday, party insiders alleged that Maimane had been making special visits to de Klerk’s house in Cape Town, seeking advice on “speeches and leadership”.

“The story is not a lie and the M&G stands by everything we’ve written. Our senior sources said it goes beyond one meeting and that Maimane takes leadership lessons from De Klerk,” editor Verashni Pillay was quoted by News24 as saying.

In a series of tweets, Maimane branded the report as “utter nonsense”, saying he only ever met de Klerk once two years ago, and only recently, Thabo Mbeki.

“As Leader of the Opposition, I meet former Leaders & State Presidents as a matter of course. I met with former President de Klerk once back in 2014. Just like I recently met with former President Mbeki. It's a non-story,” his tweets said.

Speaking in a statement, de Klerk said Maimane had never approached him seeking advice on speeches or leadership, adding that he also only met him once before.

Pillay however maintained that both de Klerk and Maimane were given time to comment on the report, but that both chose to remain mum.