POLL | Do you believe Mashatile’s claims he never financially benefited from his friendship with Sodi?

10 June 2024 - 12:00
By TimesLIVE
Deputy President Paul Mashatile denies his friendship with businessman Edwin Sodi was transactional. File photo.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi Deputy President Paul Mashatile denies his friendship with businessman Edwin Sodi was transactional. File photo.

As Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s future in government hangs in the balance, he is attempting to put South Africans at ease by refuting allegations of corruption against him and his association with controversial businessman Edwin Sodi.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Mashatile denied financially benefiting from his friendship with graft-accused Sodi.

The City of Tshwane earlier this year wrote to National Treasury to restrict Sodi and his companies, NJR Projects and Blackhead Consulting, which were part of a joint venture to upgrade the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant, due to failure to perform.

Mashatile’s acknowledgment of his friendship with Sodi  is contained in answers to the parliamentary ethics committee in response to a complaint by DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube.

Gwarube filed the complaint after News24 ran stories linking Mashatile to alleged corruption. News24 reports suggested a company owned by Mashatile’s son-in-law, Nceba Nonkwelo, Nonkwelo Investments, was granted a R30m loan by the Gauteng Partnership Fund, an entity of the Gauteng department of human settlements, for a student housing project that never materialised.

News24 also reported the deputy president had spent time in Sodi’s house in Clifton, Cape Town. Sodi is one of the accused in the R255m Free State asbestos corruption trial, together with former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. The state capture inquiry heard Sodi allegedly made payments to ANC leaders, including Mashatile.

Mashatile told the ethics committee he stayed at Sodi’s Clifton property for social visits and the payments from Sodi, who he has known for three decades, were for the benefit of the ANC and were paid into the party’s accounts.

“When it comes to my relationship with Mr Sodi, it is important to note we are friends. We've known each other since the early 1990s,” said Mashatile.

“Apart from our friendship there exists no professional or financial affiliation between Mr Sodi, his companies and me. Any insinuation suggesting otherwise is unfounded and without merit. Yes, I have occasionally visited and stayed at Mr Sodi’s Clifton property during visits to Cape Town. These visits were purely for social purposes, and I never visited the property when Mr Sodi was not staying there.”