SA ambassador to Israel should be recalled - deputy minister

2016-10-21 19:33
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Cape Town - International Relations Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers says South Africa's ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, should be recalled for recent remarks made at a press conference.

Landers was speaking before Parliament's portfolio committee on international relations and co-operation this week, and was asked about Ngombane's alleged "pro-Israel" comments.

Landers said Ngombane essentially claimed Israel was justified in its attack on Gaza.

Ngombane had made the comments during a press conference at OR Tambo International to welcome home activist Leigh-Ann Naidoo, who was part of an all-female pro-Palestine flotilla that decided to sail to Gaza in protest.

Landers said the department had not made an official decision yet on Ngombane, but that his personal view was that he should be recalled as an ambassador.

"Any ambassador, regardless of who that person is, is elected to becoming ambassador and put forward government policy," he told MPs on Wednesday.

Defied government policy

"In fairness to many DA ambassadors, there has never been a single complaint about their personal views.

"So when an ambassador is posted there, they are there to represent the policy decisions of the government of South Africa, not him or herself."

He said he received a complaint by the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel group saying Ngombane defied government policy on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

He said he will try and persuade Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane that Ngombane should no longer represent the government of South Africa.

It must still be clarified why he travelled back to South Africa with Naidoo and others, and why they allowed him to "crash" their press conference, Landers added.

Read more on:    luwellyn landers  |  middle east peace  |  politics

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