South Africa: Mazzone - These Are the Facts

press release

The DA notes the open letter by GOOD party member, Brett Herron, regarding a request for clarification of Ms Natasha Mazzone's background and qualifications. His recent concern and keen (and perhaps prosecutorial) interest in the probity of public office bearers is commendable.

The simple facts in response to him are this:

Natasha Mazzone has, over many years, publicly, stated that she never finished her law degree, and she has never claimed to be an attorney or advocate. In her publicly available statements, she has reiterated this;

She has completed her articles as well as LEAD Legal Training;

Her articles were done in terms of section 5(3) of the Attorneys Act. As an attorney himself, Herron would be familiar with this;

The DA has sent Ms Mazzone on various workshops and courses over her 24 years of service to the party, and 21 years of service to the public, including those on political science with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation;

Ms Mazzone's biography provided by the DA on its website, throughout her two tenures as Deputy Federal Council Chairperson, never made any reference to legal qualifications.

With regards to the various anonymous websites Mr Herron references - it must be noted that the DA does not own, control, manage, or run any of these websites. However, it must also be noted that Ms Mazzone has publicly stated repeatedly, including on her verified Twitter account, that she had not completed her law degree. The third party sources here contracts a long, verifiable record from the individual concerned.

With specific reference to Wikipedia, a simple search of the edits section shows that over the past 12 months, malicious edits were repeatedly made to Ms Mazzone's page, which were constantly being undone as they were fabrications or falsehoods. It would appear that Mr Herron has looked at only the most recent batch of malicious edits to that page, and not the sustained attempt by cyber-bullies to manufacture outrage against Ms Mazzone and other members of the DA through this mechanism.

Any reasonable person knows that Wikipedia, being editable anonymously by any person, is not a reliable source. However, Mr Herron successfully demonstrated that those propagating falsehoods are either digitally illiterate, determined to manufacture scandals where there are none, or are involved in the malicious creation of false information intended to defame Ms Mazzone.

The DA further notes that the GOOD Party is not participating in any by-elections today, choosing instead to focus all its efforts on trying to take down Natasha Mazzone ahead of the impeachment inquiry of the Public Protector, rather than testing its electoral viability at the ballot box. The timing of this cannot be chalked up to mere co-incidence.

Considering that the GOOD party and its leader have endorsed various radical positions from the RET wing of the ANC, I presume we can take this, as well as the party's failure to contest any by-elections, as a sign that GOOD is more interested in assisting the ANC in taking out decent opposition MPs who hold its ministers, including ones who construct washing lines for border fences, to account.

Nonetheless, all the questions posed are rhetorical, as the DA prefers to ask question in parliament to ensure that this failing government and its coalition partners have nowhere to hide on the issues that matter to South Africans.

We trust the information provided herewith provides the clarity Mr Herron sought.

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