Diplomacy and security on new SA number two’s to do list

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South Africa’s new number two, Deputy President Paul Mashatile, is expected to be an active player on the diplomatic, military veterans and wider security fronts at the behest of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Media reports this week have Ramaphosa naming David Mabuza’s replacement as special envoy to South Sudan as well as pointing to involvement in “other African peace missions”. South Africa currently contributes troops and material to United Nations (UN) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) peace missions in in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and Mozambique (SAMIM).

Mashatile is also tasked to take up leadership of the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans (PTTMV). Ramaphosa established the task team in December 2020. While he headed it, Mabuza met with military veterans in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces with Northern Cape the one missing to date. Mashatile is to continue “where Mabuza left off in discussions with military veterans on pensions and other benefits” one report said.

The new Deputy President, named during Ramaphosa’s Cabinet changes earlier this month (March) will also according to media reports, chair Cabinet’s governance and security clusters.

He is the new leader of government business in Parliament, a job done for the past five years by Mabuza.

Eyewitness News quotes Ramaphosa as saying he and Mashatile “would serve the nation with distinction”.