Dear Cape Town
President Cyril Ramaphosa is imminently expected to announce new Ambassadors who will have the task of representing South Africa abroad. According to reports, the President is expected to name some of the dodgy ministers from the Zuma-era including disgraced former ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Siyabonga Cwele, as well as Nomaindia Mfeketo.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Ramaphosa to only consider candidates who will serve in the best in the best interests of South Africa and that he steers clear of deploying deplorable persons to represent us. To deploy such individuals with checkered pasts to represent our country is an insult to the people of South Africa.
In October last year, the DA laid charges of perjury against Dlamini after she allegedly misled the Constitutional Court. Whilst Cwele, oversaw the financial and operational abuse of the State Security Agency for the benefit of former President Jacob Zuma during his time at the helm of the intelligence ministry. Mfeketo, during her time as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, seemingly abused her position to protect the former President Zuma from accounting to Parliament.
The DA will without a doubt lobby against any appointees who are undesirable. Ambassadors are expected to conduct themselves with the utmost integrity and should be beyond reproach. They are the main representatives of our country abroad and are mandated to facilitate and smooth bilateral relationships between South Africa and the host country.
Recently, in response to a DA oral question, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, revealed in Parliament that the country’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane had resigned, following his revelations at the Zondo Commission of his involvement in the Gupta Waterkloof landing.
How can it be that on one hand Government recalls Koloane yet on the other hand it chooses to deploy the likes of Dlamini, who has been accused of perjury, and Cwele, who has been accused of treason against the people of South Africa?
Any person who is implicated in wrongdoing has no place in government or our diplomatic corps. It can no longer be about cushy jobs for the compromised and international travel for the politically connected. An ambassadorial position is far more than just a dumping ground for entitled former minister, it is an important job especially in an economic climate of joblessness and poor growth.
With South Africa’s perilous economic standing, we cannot afford to send people who do not have interests of the people, the country and economy in mind. President Ramaphosa continues to squander the goodwill and patience of South Africans with his poor decisions.
Darren Bergman MP
DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation