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Nzimande visa denial to Israel viewed as attack on SA govt

The Minister of Higher Education was due to visit Palestine on a six-day working visit.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Higher Education says Minister Blade Nzimande was denied a visa to Israel because of his public utterances against the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.

But, the department says it views this as an attack on the South African government.

Nzimande was denied a visa by the Israeli government to enter the state of Palestine for a six-day working visit.

Nzimande was due to leave for Palestine yesterday, but on Wednesday night received confirmation from the Israeli embassy that his access into the country had been denied.

Nzimande's spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said, "This is a government position that is why even the President of Palestine was here, which means that a government minister will never be able to travel to Israel or Palestine because Israel has taken this particular position against South Africa."

The trip was meant to last until next week as a follow-up visit promoting research collaboration between the University of Johannesburg and institutions in Palestine.

The department said it's consulting with the Department of International Relations and Coorporation on how to respond to Israel's decision.

Nkwanyana said the decision has effectively barred all South African officials from visiting both countries.

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