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Ramaphosa appoints Paul Mashatile as special envoy to South Sudan

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Deputy President Paul Mashatile has been appointed special envoy to South Sudan after president Cyril Ramaphosa outlined his functions in the government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy Paul Mashatile during the swearing-in ceremony of new members of the national executive in Cape Town on March 7. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, African News Agency (ANA)

DEPUTY President Paul Mashatile has been appointed special envoy to South Sudan after president Cyril Ramaphosa outlined his functions in the government.

Ramaphosa wrote to Mashatile, explaining the work required of him during his term as deputy president.

Mashatile will also become leader of government business in Parliament. This is the same role his predecessor, David Mabuza, performed in the past five years.

Ramaphosa said the deputy president’s role in South Sudan meant he would also be involved in other peace missions in Africa.

South Africa has soldiers involved in peace missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mozambique and other parts of the continent.

Mashatile will also chair the Cabinet’s security cluster and governance committees, as well as the South African National Aids Council. Previous deputy presidents have been leading Sanac for years. This is an effort to reduce the number of infections in the country and intensify campaigns against HIV/Aids.

Mabuza has also been leading the land reform programme in the government. In August last year, the government announced it would release 700,000 hectares of land for redistribution and human settlements.

Over the year, the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development has been trying to fast-track land claims as the backlog has been sitting at more than 7,000.

But the bid to revive land claims was stymied in 2014 after the Constitutional Court ordered that the Land Restitution law be sent back to Parliament.

The national legislature is busy with the Expropriation Bill. It allows the state to expropriate land in the public interest or for a public purpose.

Ramaphosa also said in his letter that Mashatile would lead social cohesion in the country.

Mashatile would continue where Mabuza left off in the discussions with military veterans to get pensions and other benefits.

In October 2021, several military veterans took Minister of Defence Thandi Modise, then-minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla hostage at a hotel in Pretoria.

The court withdrew the case after a few months.

Mabuza had been leading initiatives to ensure former soldiers in the statutory and non-statutory forces receive the same benefits.

He had visited them in Limpopo, North West and other provinces to listen to their plight.

Ramaphosa said he would like to have more input from Mashatile on his responsibilities.

“I would be happy to receive further suggestions for any responsibilities where you believe attention should be focused. I am certain that with the execution of these functions, you and I will be able to serve our government and our people with distinction. I wish you all the best in these responsibilities,” Ramaphosa wrote to Mashatile.

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