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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Mashatile denies protecting staffer amid sexual harassment allegations

The staffer has been issued with a letter of intention to suspend him.

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has dismissed claims that he is protecting an employee in his office from facing the music amid allegations of sexual harassment.

According to a Sunday World report, a senior female employee in Mashatile office last August complained about abuse by a senior official in the deputy president’s office.

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In a statement, Mashatile dismissed claims that he and his chief of staff, Mduduzi Mbada, were protecting the senior official.

“The deputy president has been briefed by the chief of staff that a letter of intention to suspend [*Mr X] in light of the allegations made against him was issued and hand delivered to the spokesperson [him],” said his office.

“The deputy president is aware that there is a process underway in the Presidency to investigate the allegations made against [Mr X] by one of the senior employees in the office, and is of the view that all due processes should be adhered to.

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“The deputy president condemns any form of gender-based violence, especially against women, and also believes that all employees should be protected from any kind of victimisation.”

Mashatile’s office emphasised that the matter was receiving “the necessary attention it deserves” and would provide an update in “due course”.

Corruption charges against Mashatile

The report comes a week after Democratic Alliance (DA) laid criminal charges against Mashatile at the Cape Town Central Police Station in the Western Cape.

According to the party, the charges were in relation to a series of media articles on Mashatile’s alleged links to state capture-accused persons.

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Mashatile has denied any wrongdoing.

“While the Deputy President denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, we note that media reports fail to offer any real evidence of misconduct on the part of the deputy president, choosing instead to rely on innuendo, suggestion, and guilt by association. This is a regrettable approach to journalism and it has the potential to hinder rather than help the cause of accountability in public life,” said his office.

“For the record, the deputy president has, throughout his life as an activist and public representative, met many people from different walks of life. Naturally, some of the people he has interacted with throughout that long time have become close personal associates. There is nothing wrong or unusual about this, and the attempt to scandalise such associations is unfortunate.”

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* Mr X not real name