Mashatile backtracks on plot claim after meeting Ramaphosa
President wants matter closed as there’s no evidence of a conspiracy to oust his deputy
Deputy President Paul Mashatile says he is satisfied there is no plot to oust him from the Union Buildings.
This comes after a meeting between him and President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
On Tuesday, Mashatile said he and Ramaphosa agreed that the matter should be closed as there was no evidence to suggest a plot against him.
In weekend newspapers, Mashatile said Ramaphosa’s close allies were circling him with a view to hauling him out of the Union Buildings by August.
I didn’t mention anybody because I don’t know who they are.Deputy President Paul Mashatile
Though the deputy president did not mention names, it has been widely speculated that Ramaphosa’s former adviser, Bejani Chauke, was among those behind such a plot.
Mashatile said it was believed phones, presumably his and those of his allies, were being tapped by “faceless” people believed to be behind planning his exit.
“I didn’t mention anybody because I don’t know who they are. But we talked with the president about this matter yesterday and he has also done his checking and we’ve concluded there’s no plot,” said Mashatile.
“So, for now, we regard these as faceless people. We’ve decided let’s leave it there.”
On Sunday, Ramaphosa said he questioned Mashatile after the newspaper reports and said, “But what is this?”
The president, closing an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting, said he would discuss the matter with Mashatile, but had no plans to remove him as his deputy.
“I immediately said to him, ‘I appointed you and I’m 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.”
Mashatile said he was unaware of the motive behind the plot to remove him. “There are always reasons why people don’t want someone,” he said.
When asked why he thought people in the ANC, possibly the government, were opposed to him ascending to the highest office in land, Mashatile said he could only assume they had doubts about him implementing certain policies.
“People will always think this one might not be the best one to implement them, so let’s get somebody else,” he said.
“But it’s not good to speculate, so we decided with the president [to leave it]. If you read the president’s statement, he says, ‘I appoint the DP. I’m the only one who can remove him and as far as I’m concerned I have no such plans’.”
Mashatile said he did not want a formal investigation, even into allegations of phone tapping, as this was normal in politics, a space in which he has operated for more than 30 years.
“It’s politics and I understand politics. When you’re a political leader you live in that environment, so it’s OK if people don’t like you. The only thing is you must focus on doing the work.”
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