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South African president Ramaphosa apologises to ‘the people Zimbabwe’? No, X post on Mnangagwa’s re-election fake

IN SHORT: No, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa hasn’t issued any apology to the people of Zimbabwe on X, formerly Twitter.

“I would like to issue an apology to the people Zimbabwe for our premature congratulation message,” reads what seems to be a post on X (formerly Twitter) by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“For now we stand with SADC's Preliminary Report and DR Mumba.”

A screenshot of the post has been circulating on Facebook since 28 August 2023, the day Ramaphosa took to X on to congratulate Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa on his re-election. It has the same date.

Zimbabwe, one of South Africa’s northern neighbours, held elections on 23 and 24 August. The presidential race was mainly between Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Zanu-PF’s Mnangagwa.

Zanu-PF is the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. It’s been in power since the country’s independence from white rule in 1980. 

On 26 August Zimbabwe’s elections commission declared Mnangagwa the winner of the presidential vote.

Elections in Zimbabwe have long been plagued by irregularities

Three groups of international observers monitored the 2023 polls to determine if they were free and fair. These were from the Commonwealth, the European Union and the regional Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Sadc is made up of 16 countries in the southern African region. Its monitoring mission was headed by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba.

On 25 August Mumba’s team released its preliminary report on the elections. 

This raised several concerns: the late release of the voters’ roll, voting delays, voter intimidation, opposition rallies being cancelled by police, and bias in campaign coverage by government-controlled media.

Ramaphosa was one of only three Sadc heads of state to attend Mnangagwa’s inauguration on 4 September.

But did he really issue an apology “to people Zimbabwe” for prematurely congratulating Mnangagwa on his re-election, and say his government instead supported the Sadc observer mission’s preliminary report?


No news of apology

If South Africa’s president had apologised for his 28 August X post it would have made global news. But there have been no credible reports of the apology.

We searched X for posts on Ramaphosa’s verified account from 27 to 29 August. Only two were found. Neither was the supposed apology.

On 29 August South African presidency spokesperson Athi Geleba posted the screenshot on X, with the word “FAKE” stamped on it three times.



The post giving Ramaphosa’s “apology to people Zimbabwe” is fake.

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