Although he has been tasked with resolving tricky domestic situations, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has not left the country on an official trip this year.
According to The Sunday Independent, Motlanthe's diary indicates that he undertook seven international trips last year, but has not been sent on any since he opposed President Jacob Zuma at the African National Congress conference in Mangaung.
The Sunday Independent points out that the Presidency website lists international relations as one of the deputy president's responsibilities.
According to the website: "The deputy president plays a significant role in South Africa's international relations programmes. The deputy president co-chairs a number of commissions formed with countries which South Africa has strategic relations with."
The newspaper suggested that Motlanthe's lack of international travel could be seen as the result of a deteriorating relationship between the president and his deputy. Motlanthe, who was voted out of the ANC National Executive Committee, no longer sits in on the weekly meeting of the party's top six leaders.
However, Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj, who denied that the lack of international travel indicated a rift, has pointed out that it is not the president, but rather the Department of International Relations and Co-operation that controls the scheduling process.
The Sunday Independent quoted him as saying: "There is no justification for anyone to read any signs of sidelining of the deputy president or problems in the relations between the president and the deputy president as a consequence of the Mangaung conference of the ANC in December 2012."