Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo has responded to allegations of wrongdoing levelled against him, calling the allegations "cunning, spiteful and bogus".Investigative unit amaBhungane recently reported that Masondo had allegedly used his influence and state resources to settle a personal score with an ex-mistress by having her arrested for extortion.It appears from messages that the fight was mainly about the woman accusing the deputy minister of bullying her to have an abortion and her wanting the two families to discuss damages, amaBhungane reported.It is not clear when exactly Masondo went to the police and on what basis he laid charges, but his complaint seems to have received swift attention, resulting in the Hawks launching a sting operation. The woman was arrested outside her home in northern Johannesburg on Saturday, August 17, when she accepted a bag of cash from men she understood were representing Masondo, but were actually undercover cops. She spent the weekend behind bars and told amaBhungane: "David having me… thrown in jail for nothing was one of the most violent acts I have experienced... It will stay with me for the rest of my life."A statement by JP Louw, issued on behalf of Masondo, says that "whilst keen to set the record straight, Dr Masondo has been advised by his lawyer to avoid commenting on the specifics of the matter as it could undermine criminal investigations against the said woman. Notwithstanding, Dr Masondo finds allegations made against him to be cunning, spiteful and bogus".The statement also says that the reporting and "claims made currently in the public domain are largely based on information opportunistically adjusted to suite [sic] an untruth."Unfortunately, the media is being used by the said woman (who is a journalist) to cast aspersion on the character of Dr David Masondo. It seems the hope is to use the court of public opinion and exploit the current climate where, justifiably, the country is immersed with the sickening scourge of violence and discrimination against women. The intention appears to be to force Dr Masondo and his family to abandon the case opened by frustrating the ongoing criminal investigations," reads the statement. Masondo also restates "as a matter of record" his "longstanding and continued commitment to struggles for gender equality and opposition to undermining of women's rights."The statement continues that "the decision to approach the authorities became necessary when women in his family were either harassed or threatened with same and there was demonstration of a relentless and escalating onslaught. Upon conclusion of the criminal proceedings, Dr Masondo will make an assessment on the need to set the record straight for purposes of highlighting lessons learned". "This he will do by both acknowledging his unfortunate indiscretions and miscalculations whilst, most importantly, encouraging an enhanced discourse on matters related to gender equality and harassment in the building of a non-sexist South Africa and world."It is important to allow an objective process through the authorities to interrogate the facts on this matter so as to reach informed conclusions about the facts – regardless if such outcomes points Dr Masondo or the said woman as wrongdoer."An appeal is made that this be allowed to run its due course taking into account the interest of not just one woman (who happens to be under investigation for very serious crimes), but more than four women affected on this matter," the statement ends.