Mbeki denies calling for action to be taken against Zindzi Mandela

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.”

Zindzi Mandela in London in 2013

Zindzi Mandela (File, Neil P. Mockford, Getty Images)

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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