"I couldn't subject the state to pay for my Russia trip."
This is what Deputy President David "DD" Mabuza told New24 on Sunday when asked about his recent trip to Russia where he received medical assistance for a long-term illness.
In his first public engagement since his return from Russia, Mabuza spent Sunday campaigning in Mkhondo, Piet Retief as part of the ANC's Thuma Mina campaign ahead of the 2019 elections.
Mabuza said that while he paid for his fourth trip to Russia out of his own pocket, the state paid for his protection team who had to accompany him due to his role in government.
Defending his decision to seek treatment in Russia, Mabuza said the doctors there understood his ailment as they had been treating him for a long period.
"When I was critically ill, unable to walk, I was presented to the hospital in Russia. They treated me and have all my medical records, so they know what might be the problem in the future," said Mabuza.
"I went there and will still go because they have my medical records and I know what times or intervals I must go there to check whether a certain problem has developed or subsided," continued South Africa's deputy president.
Mabuza said he formally made a request to Ramaphosa for sick leave to go for his check-up. He was received by the Russian government and treated at a hospital there.
"I am back, I'm good and I am going to run! I will try and serve my country to the best of my abilities," Mabuza told News24 on the sidelines of one of his campaign stops.
Top 6 and NWC will discuss Bosasa
Earlier, Mabuza told journalists he would meet with the ANC's top 6 officials on Sunday evening and its national working committee on Monday.
Although he did not want to share his own views on the developing Bosasa scandal and its links to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, Mabuza said it would be discussed by the party.
Ramaphosa told Parliament this week that he was not aware that Bosasa (now called African Global Operations), which holds multi-million rand government tenders, had donated R500 000 to his campaign in the leadup to the ANC's elective conference last year.
This comes as opposition parties called for the president to account for the money.
"Sure, the matter is going to be discussed. Not necessary for all of us to speak on one matter, the president's office is speaking," said Mabuza.