Mashatile’s job as deputy remains safe, assures Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President Paul Mashatile. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President Paul Mashatile. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 10, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said he held a meeting with his deputy Paul Mashatile and assured him that there was no plan to “de-appoint” him as his second-in-command.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting, Ramaphosa said he had seen a report where Mashatile was quoted as saying there was a plot to remove him from office by August.

“I saw the report. I had a discussion with the Deputy President and said what is this?” he said, adding that he and Mashatile would have a further discussion.

“I said I appointed you and I am the only person who can de-appoint you and there is no thought, no plan and no inkling whatsoever that something like that could be in the works,” the president told the media as the NEC was wrapping its three-day meeting in Gauteng.

“There is no truth or substance to that at all as far as I am concerned,” he said.

Ramaphosa also downplayed reports quoting secretary-general Fikile Mbalula as backing him in taking action against Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe for refusing to attend the launch of a green energy initiative with the Denmark and Dutch prime ministers.

“We are making a mountain out of molehill. It has been suggested that Minister Mantashe not being at the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dutch Prime Minister and Danish Prime Minister was a big snub. It was not. Things were moving very quickly. People in his department and the Presidency were moving very quickly.”

Referring to reports that Mantashe had not wanted to sign a MoU he had not read, Ramaphosa said: “The MoU was signed by the government. It is the government of South Africa that signs these issues.”

He also said there was a protocol when MoUs were signed and that people were delegated to sign.

“Minister Mantashe is the one who signed more renewable IPPs than any other. He signed the bucket load … There is no issue.”

Ramaphosa said the NEC meeting reflected on the progress being made in the renewal of the ANC.

Ramaphosa described the ANC machinery – with the Youth League coming out of its elective conference and the Women’s and Veterans League still to hold theirs in the coming weeks – as beginning to gel and dealing with substantive issues.

He also said the NEC was encouraged to see that the electricity availability factor was continuing to rise and hovering around 69% and incidents of load shedding reduced from stage 6 to around stage 3.

“The NEC got a sense that we are now grappling with issues that had been really a concern to the people of South Africa.”

The president added that they had dealt with the looming challenge with regard to transmission of electricity.

“Transmission is under a great deal of challenge and stress and we therefore need to look at a variety of options.”

“Obviously, it requires a lot of money. It has been suggested R210 billion and others said R250 billion said.

“With the debt of Eskom it’s going to be a challenge.”

However, Ramaphosa said they have to find innovative ways of addressing the challenge.

“We should not sit by and let it slide for years and years just as we did with the whole issue of generation in the past,” he said.

Ramaphosa also said he gave his report to the NEC about the African leaders’ peace mission to Ukraine and Russia.

He added that the government was finalising discussions on the form and how the Brics summit will be held.

“I am in the course of talking to the four heads of state in relation to that and an announcement will be made in due course,” he said.

Ramaphosa dismissed a suggestion that the Brics summit next month will be held virtually.

“We are going to have a physical summit. All of us are committed to have a summit where we will eye ball each other,” he said.

Cape Times