Ramaphosa: ‘No proof or substance of plot to oust Mashatile’
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa says there are no plans to oust his deputy Paul Mashatile. This follows negative news reports that have dug into Mashatile’s apparent luxurious lifestyle, the debacle involving his VIP protection services team and his ties to high-profile businesspeople.
Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s tenure has been marred by allegations that have put him in a precarious position, but President Cyril Ramaphosa has set the record straight about what has been reported as a concerted and strategic effort to have Mashatile removed.
Speaking on Sunday during a media Q&A session following the ANC’s three-day National Executive Committee meeting, the President noted a report in City Press in which Mashatile said there was a plot against him.
“I had a discussion with the Deputy President and I said, ‘What is this?’ We are going to have other discussions. I immediately said that I am appointing you and I am the only person who can de-appoint you.
“There is just no thought, no plan, no inkling whatsoever that something like that could be in the works. I would have had to have my own head examined to have a Deputy President appointed and then thereafter remove him, unless the party decides so. There is no proof or substance of that at all,” the President said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Paul Mashatile’s presidential ambitions lose lustre in harsh glare of news spotlight
During the interview with City Press, Mashatile was tight-lipped about whom he believed was behind the plot to remove him, but he did mention that he was trying to investigate the matter further. He said he believed those working against him wanted him removed by August.
The President’s voluntary adviser Bejani Chauke appeared to be identified in leaked WhatsApp messages as the individual plotting against Mashatile. However, Chauke dismissed these allegations last week.
“It has come to my attention that there are manipulated, fake WhatsApp chats regarding the plot to disrupt the stability and operations of the Office of the Deputy President via the media. One of the phone numbers linked to the fake chats is similar to mine. I have no idea why my number is associated with the underhanded plan to discredit the Deputy President.
“I distance myself from this fake communication and commit myself to report the matter to the relevant law enforcement agencies for in-depth investigation,” Chauke said last week.
How it all began
Mashatile’s woes seem to have started earlier this year when Ramaphosa spent months mulling over an expected Cabinet reshuffle following the ANC national conference in December 2022. The delays around the Cabinet reshuffle sparked rumours that Mashatile was being blocked from heading to the Union Buildings by Ramaphosa’s close allies.
When he was finally appointed, intimate details about the Deputy President’s love life, regarding his relationship with Gugu Nkosi and his marriage to Humile Mjongile, his late business partner’s wife, started making headlines.
Then an article by News24 titled “The secret luxury life and state capture links of a president-in-waiting” attempted to expose Mashatile’s dubious lifestyle, which has allegedly been aided by wealthy businessmen.
The article stated that Mashatile had close ties with Edwin Sodi, former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s co-accused in the multimillion-rand Free State asbestos scandal, and had stayed in his house in Clifton, Cape Town. Ndavhe Mareda, chairman of the Makole Group, was also mentioned in the report as having allowed Mashatile to use his home in Fresnaye, Cape Town.
The deputy president continued to make headlines last week after members of his SAPS VIP protection unit responsible for his security were caught on camera assaulting people.
This sparked anger on social media and resulted in an uproar from opposition political parties.
SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the officers involved face charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, pointing a firearm and malicious damage to property. They have been served with notices of suspension. DM