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Foreign ambassadors’ concede memo on corruption didn’t follow due process

Dirco's director general Kgabo Mahoai and Minister Lindiwe Sisulu met with heads of diplomatic missions representing the countries on Monday.

FILE: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says the embassies of the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland have conceded they were wrong to send a discussion document raising concerns around corruption in the country directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The director general Kgabo Mahoai of the department met with heads of diplomatic missions representing the countries on Monday.

The minister issued a démarche - which is a strong diplomatic objection - after it was reported that the five countries wrote to the president warning him that failure to act against those implicated in corruption placed foreign investment at risk.

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu accused the countries of breaching protocol.

Dirco says the countries explained that they sent the discussion paper to the Presidency last year to contribute to the dialogue on how South Africa can attract more foreign direct investments, and were not giving directives to the president.

The department’s spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya says the countries admit that they were wrong to send the document directly to the president and they regret it.

“What is important is that any document, whether signed in June or January, should follow diplomatic channels. We all agreed that it is regrettable that the communication did not follow the necessary channels.”

Mabaya says the meeting between Sisulu and representatives of the five world countries concluded with an agreement that in future, proper diplomatic channels and protocols will be followed in all diplomatic communications.

‘DRAMATIC WESTERN IMPERIALIST FORCES’

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) has accused the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia of interference for sending the joint memorandum to Ramaphosa.

In the statement on Monday, the party described the countries as dramatic western imperialist forces and former colonisers who act as holier than thou.

The ANC said it doesn’t want to relate to the countries the history of master-slave relations, adding that South Africa has embarked on a process of ridding itself of state capture and corruption.

The governing party has called on the countries to support South Africa, saying it doesn’t appreciate the threatening and bullying tone.

“We do not appreciate a threatening and bullying tone. These countries decided to communicate directly with the president of our country via their embassies, an act that can be deemed as undermining and dismissive of diplomatic practices. They leaked their letters to the media, suggesting they had less than honourable intentions.

“This unwarranted act by these five countries is viewed dimly as an act to influence the outcome of the upcoming elections... The ANC wants to be clearly understood that we will not be fooled into swapping one attempt of state capture and corruption for another! This is how we view the interference of these five countries, as just another form of state capture.

“The ANC shall not allow South Africa’s Constitution and sovereignty to be undermined by these latter-day colonialists,” the party said.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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