What exactly is going on with South Africa’s deputy president?

We now know that David Mabuza is in Russia for a medical check-up.

However, contrary to local newspaper reports – which suggested he was undergoing medical treatment following an alleged poisoning three years ago – Mr Mabuza’s office says he is not ill.

“At no point in our statement did we say that the deputy president is ill,” spokesman Thami Ngwenya insisted.

“There’s a difference in there. We said he was on sick leave, so he was attending to his medical health. But to say he’s gravely ill and sick, those are two different things.”

Indeed, far from being sick, Mr Ngweya was quoted in the Sunday papers as having said: “South Africans can be assured that he is in good health and will be resuming his delegated responsibilities soonest.”

Confused? So is the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), who were busy demanding answers in parliament last week.

This is not the first time the 58-year-old, who is also deputy president of the governing African National Congress (ANC), is known to have sought medical treatment in Russia.

In 2015, South Africa’s Sunday Times reported that he flew to Russia in an aircraft owned by the controversial Gupta family allegedly because he was not responding to treatment at home.