SA silent on Rwanda, Burundi expulsions

International relations minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane referred question to the state security cluster.

There’s likely to be widespread political and economic consequence after South Africa and Rwanda expelled each other’s diplomats. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's official silence on why it expelled three diplomats is frustrating both Rwanda, Burundi and journalists.

Rwanda's ambassador to South Africa Vincent Karega and his team were given 72 hours to leave the country.

This after an attempt on the life of former Rwandan army chief general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.

Pretoria believes Rwandan soldiers may have tried to assassinate Nyamwasa and officials say action was taken because of state security.

Speaking through her spokesperson Clayson Monyela, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane referred questions to the state security cluster.

The minister is on a visit to Chile in South America.

In turn, the State Security Department insists this matter must be handled by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Kigali has responded to the South African expulsion by booting six diplomats, effectively closing the high commission.

An official from Burundi's embassy was also expelled in connection with the attempted hit.

Burundi is waiting on an explanation from Pretoria before taking further action.

At the beginning of this year, former Rwandan external intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was found strangled at the Michelangelo Towers in Sandton, north of Johannesburg.