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Deputy President Mashatile Grilled on VIP Motorcade Incident in National Council of Provinces

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

South Africa's Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, made an appearance in the National Council of Provinces for oral questions on Thursday, where the topic of his presidential VIP protection team, notably the incident on the N1 in Johannesburg in July, remained a contentious issue. MP George Michalakis queried whether Mashatile had been present in the convoy during the incident where VIP unit members purportedly assaulted civilians.

In response to Michalakis's question, Mashatile referred to a statement given by Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, who previously informed Parliament’s Committee on Police that the VIP motorcade accompanying the deputy president typically consists of seven vehicles—six from South African Police Service (SAPS) and a medical car from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). While confirming his absence during the time of the incident, Mashatile refrained from providing further details citing ongoing court proceedings.

When pressed by Michalakis on the necessity of a seven-car convoy, ANC representatives defended Mashatile, invoking judicial sub judice rules as the situation is still under legal scrutiny. The NCOP chair, Amos Masondo, intervened to underscore the importance of the Parliament's reputation and expressed concerns over MPs using question time to deliver speeches.

Further altercation ensued over the limits of freedom of expression and court proceedings. Michalakis then posed a question about Mashatile's actions upon becoming aware of the event; however, the deputy president reassured that these details would be brought up in court, firmly declaring, “I think the member is not listening."

Masondo admonished the members against heckling while Mashatile attempted to steer the discussion away from legal matters. He later offered a stern response to relentless questions, stating, “I think members are not listening, maybe I should have said it in Afrikaans. Asseblief tog.”

Mashatile was also challenged over the ongoing Phala Phala saga. He maintained that parliamentary processes had been properly adhered to and stressed the importance of respecting the established institutions.

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