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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Clifton capture? Probe into ‘friends with benefits’ claims against Paul Mashatile

Rise Mzansi has laid a complaint against Paul Mashatile amid claims of the president-in-waiting's 'secret lavish lifestyle'.

Rise Mzansi is demanding an urgent probe into the “lavish lifestyle” of Deputy President Paul Mashatile allegedly funded by tenderpreneurs, including corruption-accused Bryanston businessman Edwin Sodi, benefitting from government contracts.

The political newcomers’ call follows a News24 exposé alleging the use of luxury mansions to host wild parties by Mashatile due to his ties with the state capture-linked Sodi, as well as another businessman whose company has received substantial Eskom contracts.

Rise Mzansi lays complaint against ‘captured’ Paul Mashatile

Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi said the party wrote to acting Public Protector Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka on Tuesday, 27 June, to investigate the high-flying deputy president for a breach of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

The Executive Members’ Ethics Act is the same legislation in terms of which complaints were laid against President Cyril Ramaphosa with regard to cash declaration allegations following the burglary at his Phala Phala farm.  

‘Above the law?’

ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile is congratulated by re-elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa during the ANC National Conference, at Nasrec, in Johannesburg, 19 December 2022. Photo: Nigel Sibanda

ALSO READ: ‘No laws to find people guilty by association’ – Presidency on Mashatile’s lifestyle

In a statement, the party said that allegations of the deputy president being “captured” should not be taken lightly.  

“At face value, the deputy president has committed serious violations of at least the Constitution, his oath of office, and the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

“The South African political establishment has built a culture of zero accountability, especially when those in power are alleged to be or found to be corrupt or involved in other acts of criminality. The powerful have placed themselves above the law.” 

According to Zibi, the public protector now has 30 days in which to submit a report to Ramaphosa with her findings.

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Mounting concern over ‘secret opulent lifestyle’ of Mashatile

On Monday,  Public Interest SA also released a statement in which the lobby group expressed its concern about the “unseemly secret opulent lifestyle by Deputy President Paul Mashatile, including his apparent links to individuals fingered for state capture corruption and some with massive government contracts are as worrisome as they are foreboding”.

Mashatile’s Cape Town capers

The News24 report alleged that serial tenderpreneur Sodi has been one of Mashatile’s largest “blessers” while being “blessed” in return with state contracts.

Sodi, alongside former Free State premier Ace Magashule, is on trial on charges of corruption and fraud linked to a R255-million Free State asbestos eradication tender.

In this file photo, Blackhead Consulting director Edwin Sodi appears at the State Capture Commission, in Braamfontein, on 29 September 2020. Photo: Neil McCartney

The Hammanskraal cholera outbreak has recently cast the spotlight on Sodi for a R295 million tender that was awarded to his Blackhead Consulting company to refurbish and upgrade the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The report makes the following shock allegations of Mashatile’s ‘secret lavish life’ when in Cape Town:

  • The deputy president was given free rein of Sodi’s Clifton mansion property which was sold by the state last year for R78 million. Mashatile used the house even after it was placed under court-ordered preservation by the state in 2020.
  • Mashatile also has free access to businessman Ndavhe Mareda’s R30 million luxury home in Fresnaye.
  • The mansion is registered in the name of a company owned by Mareda, who recently received coal supply contracts from Eskom.
  • A regular companion at these occasions told News24 that Mashatile would entertain female friends and members of his inner circle at both homes, where “expensive alcohol would be consumed, and romantic relationships pursued”.
A Google Streetview image of Edwin Sodi’s former Clifton mansion, allegedly frequented by Deputy President Paul Mashatile on his monthly visits to Cape Town. Photo: Google

In April 2022, the Zondo Commission found that Sodi made various payments through his business bank accounts to “obtain access, secure influence, and retain connections with a number of individuals at provincial and national government”.

The politically connected Sodi, according to the commission, made 15 payments totalling R371 553 between February 2015 and September 2016, directly to Mashatile.

ALSO READ: Hammanskraal cholera: Edwin Sodi’s R295m Rooiwal tender… where did the money go?

Presidency speaks out

In reply to the allegations contained in the News24 report, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya cautioned that individuals, such as Mashatile, cannot be labelled “guilty by association”.

“As a country, we don’t – as yet – have laws that prosecute individuals on the basis of being found guilty by association.

“We don’t have those laws. The deputy president is not facing any criminal charges nor has he been cited in any criminal investigation.

“With respect to the deputy president’s association that is a personal matter that the deputy president may decide to reflect on and I think it’s important we be cautious on the terminology we use.”

ALSO READ: Mashatile and Malema co-governing SA not as farfetched as you may think

Zondo: ‘Another round of state capture’

The News24 allegations emerged just days after Chief Justice Raymond Zondo issued a warning at last Thursday’s Human Science Research Council symposium that “Parliament will be unable to prevent another round of state capture because it has been slow to act on the recommendations of his inquiry”.

“If another group of people were to do exactly what the Guptas did to pursue state capture, Parliament would still not be able to stop it,” Zondo said in his keynote address a year after handing in his gargantuan State Capture Commission report.

“That is simply because I have seen nothing that has changed. If Parliament won’t be able to protect the people’s interests, who will protect the people?”

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