Mon, 01 Jun 2020

Former president Thabo Mbeki has denied calling for action to be taken against South African Ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela, countering that he had explained the discipline and culture of the diplomatic world.

The Sunday Tribune quoted Mbeki as saying that no ambassador represented themselves, and that if Mandela's tweets were inconsistent with what the president said, it could not be allowed.

The EFF has condemned Mbeki's reported call for action to be taken.

On Monday, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation said the former president had answered questions posed to him by a journalist from the newspaper's education desk on Saturday.

During the interview, Mbeki was asked if he had seen Mandela's tweet on the land question and he replied that he had not, the foundation said in a statement.

"President Mbeki, however, explained the discipline and culture of the diplomatic world in which, as representatives of the President of the Republic and broadly the government, ambassadors and high commissioners represent official government policy; not their views and opinions," it stated.

"This is so in part because the system of government, as indeed the fabric of foreign policy, would be seriously imperilled were officials to express their personal views as and when they see fit. This has absolutely nothing to do with Ambassador Mandela's views or her right to hold her views.

"Accordingly, President Mbeki explained that prior to taking action, if such action was contemplated, the president or government would have to consider Ambassador Mandela's comments relative to the positions of the government on the land question."

At no point, however, did he call for any action to be taken against Mandela, the foundation maintained.

"This is borne out by everything the journalist quoted from President Mbeki," it said.

"We would like to caution members of the public to be aware of methods of mobilisation by means of false, emotive narratives and caricatures of derogation.

"Such methods do not in the least advance public understanding of vital political and public policy matters. To the contrary, they whip up a frenzy which serves the interests of the system we need to transform for the benefit of our people as a whole."

Two weeks ago, Mandela trended after tweeting: "Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs," News24 reported.

"Whilst I wine and dine here ... wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing #OurLand," was another of her late-night tweets.

Meanwhile, the ANC laid charges of crimen injuria and incitement against controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr on Monday for his Twitter "death threat" aimed at Mandela and DA MP Phumzile Van Damme.

This after Hofmeyr tweeted last week: "Dear @zilevandamme and @ZindziMandela I'm a South African tax-paying citizen. Effectively, I AM your boss. You WILL jump when I say so and you WILL ask how high. And when you come to take our lives&land, you WILL die. Our contract is that simple. And don't you forget it."

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