Former president Thabo Mbeki has denied saying that action must be taken against South African Ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela over her tweets on land reform.
In a statement, The Thabo Mbeki Foundation moved to clarify the former president’s remarks, and the context in which it was said.
The Foundation said the former president was asked if he had seen Mandela’s tweets and Mbeki answered no.
Mbeki, however explained, the statement said, “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.”
The statement added that were officials to express their personal views as and when they see fit, the system of government, as indeed the fabric of foreign policy, would be seriously imperilled.
Mbeki then said: 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 government on the land question, the statement added.
In reference to the media reports,the statement concluded that such “false and emotive narratives does little to advance public understanding of vital political and public policy matters,” and “whips up a frenzy which serves the system we need to transform.”