Motsoaledi apologises to Dr Pashy amid legal action threat

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has apologised to Dr Mmereka Ntshani, also known as Dr Pashy, for statements he made about her in relation to Thabo Bester’s jail break.

This after Ntshani wrote to Motsoaledi demanding an apology for damage caused to her reputation.

During a media briefing in April, Motsoaledi denied that Bester’s lover and accomplice Nandipha Magudumana stole Ntshani’s identity. He also questioned the credibility of Ntshani’s version regarding the loss of her passport in 2019.

It is understood that Ntshani reported to the police that her passport had been in 2019, but when she visited the police in March 2022, she claimed to have given it to Magudumana and TK Nkwana, who is now known as Bester, to assist her in obtaining a US citizenship.

During a media briefing on Monday, Motsoaledi acknowledged his mistake and apologised to Ntshani, clarifying that he was apologising specifically for the false statement that Ntshani had deposed an affidavit in 2019 stating her passport had been stolen.

He confirmed that passports were indeed found in Magudumana’s possession, but there were issues with the identification process and multiple passport applications made by Ntshani.

“I made it clear that I am apologising for that in her acquiring a passport in 2019, she never deposed an affidavit that her passport was stolen. That is what I am apologising for, because it was not a true statement,” the minister said.

“I did see the affidavit which was deposed on the 27th of January that her passport had been given to Nandipha Magudumana and TK Nkwana, which is an assumed name of Thabo Bester.

“That one I did see, the one of 2019, I was so informed by the officials then I found that there were mix-up issues in terms of which is which, because she applied for several passports. My apology is specifically for the statement I made that she deposed an affidavit in 2019 that her passport was stolen, the other issues are correct.

“It is true that those passports, regardless of how they were acquired, were found in possession of Dr Nandipha Magudumana in Tanzania.

“In fact, my apology is simply about how she acquired a passport in 2019, the issue of stolen or not. That is what I am retracting and nothing else.”

Ntshani, in her letter to Motsoaledi, had expressed the negative impact his statements had on her professional life, with colleagues becoming reluctant to work with her.

She warned of a legal action if the minister failed to retract his statement and issue a formal apology.

However, while admitting the mistake, Motsoaledi maintains he did not defame anyone when discussing the manner in which the passport was obtained.

“I did not defame anybody when I mentioned the manner in which the passport was taken. There are three methods through which people acquire new passports – it is stolen, lost, or due to expire in less than six months.

“Those are the methods and a mistake was made with one of them. That is why I am saying sorry, because it was a mistake,” he said.

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