Adj. Pres. Paul Mashatile confirmed this week in the National Council of Provinces (NRP) that he was not at the scene where some members of the presidential protection unit were involved in an altercation with three civilians.
Eight members of the presidential protection unit were arrested following the alleged assault incident on July 2 on the N1 highway in Fourways. During the incident, members of Mashatile’s protection team reportedly assaulted three motorists along the road. The incident was captured on video and widely distributed.
The court case against the officers continues.
“Indeed I was not there. The vehicles that transport the president and the deputy president do not stop for anything. We don’t even stop at a red traffic light.
“It would have been very strange if my vehicle had stopped and I looked at what was happening,” Mashatile said in an oral question and answer session in the NRP on Thursday.
Bheki Cele, minister of police, also said after the events that the deputy president was already at home when he was informed about the incident. Mashatile has now confirmed it again.
“When I became aware of the incident, I was already home – because the vehicle does not stop.”
Mashatile did not want to give further details because according to him the case is sub judice. “When people appear in court and we lose things, it is a problem.
“(Parliament) members can be assured, however, that I was not at the scene,” he said.
What about luxury lifestyle?
During the question session, Mashatile also said that it is important that those in leadership positions – like him – be held accountable, but he also joined in with those who question the findings of independent institutions when they do not agree with them.
News24 recently made a series of revelations about Mashatile’s alleged extravagant lifestyle and the tenderpreneurs and billionaires who apparently finance it.
“We as leaders are not afraid of being held accountable. This is what must be done. What parliamentarians should not do is participate in gossip. You see, journalists thrive on gossip, because then people run to buy the papers and ask ‘did you hear?'”
However, the deputy president says MPs should not be complicit in this. “Let’s be accountable, but let’s do it the right way.”
About the respective investigations into the Phala Phala incident – the theft of millions of rands in foreign currency from pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s game farm in Limpopo – Mashatile says the various institutions conducted their investigations independently and made findings.
“The South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Public Protector (OP) and the Reserve Bank have all dealt with the allegations and made statements about their own findings.
“Let me repeat it: the government and Pres. Ramaphosa is committed to being subjected to all processes in terms of our Constitution and the country’s laws.”
Mashatile says the government also supports the work of Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 institutions and law enforcement authorities who continue to hold those in positions of power accountable.
“Government and law enforcement agencies must be allowed and given enough space to do their work without undue pressure and interference. And when they are done with it, we have to accept the results.”
The deputy president says some people accuse the institutions of bias when they are dissatisfied with a specific outcome. He says that when an institution is designated to investigate an issue, they do so independently.
“I don’t think it’s fair to then come back and say ‘no, we don’t like your finding’.
“What if (the institutions) found the president was wrong? Would you have been happy then? Yes. You would have said ‘viva the Public Protector’.
“Allow them to do their job.”