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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile on allegations by News24

Left unchallenged, these could create the impression that the Deputy President does not respect or seek to uphold his oath of office

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PRETORIA, South Africa, June 29, 2023/ — Deputy President Paul Mashatile has noted a report by News24 focusing on the Deputy President and his past. The story contains a number of potentially damaging, yet unsubstantiated allegations against the Deputy President.

Left unchallenged, these could create the impression that the Deputy President does not respect or seek to uphold his oath of office, the dictates of the constitution and national law, or is not mindful of the concerns of ordinary South Africans about corruption and unethical conduct from those who hold public office.

As such, the Deputy President would like to assure the nation that he is committed to his oath of office and the principles of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Deputy President would also like to reiterate his commitment to fighting corruption and building an ethical and competent developmental state. In line with these commitments, the Deputy President has always conducted himself in ways that comply with the letter and spirit of the law and Executive disclosure requirements throughout his career spanning nearly 30 years of service to the people of South Africa. Any allegation or insinuation that he has ever betrayed this commitment is categorically denied.

While the Deputy President denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, we note that News24 fails to offer any real evidence of misconduct on the part of the Deputy President, choosing instead to rely on innuendo, suggestion, and guilt by association. This is a regrettable approach to journalism and it has the potential to hinder rather than help the cause of accountability in public life.

For the record, the Deputy President has, throughout his life as an activist and public representative, met many people from different walks of life, including the individuals mentioned by News24. Naturally, some of the people he has interacted with throughout that long time have become close personal associates. There is nothing wrong or unusual about this, and the attempt to scandalise such associations is unfortunate.

The Deputy President has never awarded, influenced, or in any way caused any state or public sector contract to be awarded to the individuals and companies mentioned by News24. Nor does the Deputy President have ownership or permanent use of any properties bought by these individuals and companies. The Deputy President would challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

One of the most unfortunate parts of the News24 report hit on the Deputy President, is the gratuitous suggestion that the Deputy President is “working hard behind the scenes to ascend to the office of president”, supposedly by some underhand means. This is strenuously denied.

The primary mandate of The Presidency is to provide support to the President and Deputy President in leading the Executive and to assist them in the coordination and supervision of Government. The Presidency translates and implements the commitments of the President as outlined in the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Deputy President supports the President overall and specifically executes various responsibilities as delegated by the President. Central to the responsibilities of the Deputy President is to address the factors which impede service delivery and implementation of the Government programme, including departmental and local government capacity, red tape, governance, poor contract management, long turn-around times and corruption.

The specific program for the Deputy President is to focus on fixing local government, by prioritising some of the 66 identified dysfunctional municipalities, intervening, setting milestones and showing success cases in order to replicate them nationally. All of this work is mandated by and supported by the President, aimed exclusively at enhancing the capacity of the state to deliver to the people. None of it is in service of some political machinations against or in favour of any Government leader. To allege otherwise, based only on the say-so of nameless sources, is irresponsible in the extreme.

The Deputy President will not be distracted from the work entrusted to him by the President and the people of South Africa, and will continue to conduct himself in public office based on the ethical dictates that have guided him through a long career in politics: integrity, respect for the law and constitution, and an unwavering commitment to service and to the primary interests of the people of South Africa.

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