This week, following revelations of his extra-marital activities with a younger woman - who was incidentally sharing her affections with one of Mantashe’s Cabinet colleagues - the minister first publicly claimed he had paid two journalists not to write the story, and then tried to deny saying he had bribed them; and then ultimately confessed he had lied.
South Africa, unfortunately, has set the bar very low when it comes to the probity of its politicians. There is very little, after a decade of state capture involving not one but two prominent families effectively bankrolling our leaders, that can surprise us.
Mantashe, though, has managed this.
As a former secretary-general of the ruling ANC and now national chair, he is a close confidant of Cyril Ramaphosa and as such a key ally in the president’s New Dawn to sweep this country clean of the venality, hypocrisy and sleaze that has threatened an entire generation’s birthright.