Five embassies 'regret' investment memo misunderstanding, meet with Dirco

Five diplomatic missions say they "regret" the misunderstanding caused by a memo they penned in which they warned President Cyril Ramaphosa that his drive to attract foreign direct investment could be hampered if the state didn't enforce the rule of law more strictly.

On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that the embassies of the United States of America, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland had warned Ramaphosa that his investment campaign "could fail unless SA starts to take tangible action against the perpetrators of state capture, corruption and other serious crimes".

Hours after the publication of the article, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu slammed the document, instructing her department (Dirco) to "demarche" (summon) the heads of mission of the five countries to discuss their memo and "acceptable protocol in addressing such matters".

The meeting took place on Monday.

In a statement issued by the department, it said the heads of mission "clarified that the discussion paper had been sent to the Presidency to contribute to the dialogue on how South Africa can attract more foreign direct investment".

Meanwhile, the ANC said that it had noted with deep concern the interference by the "Western imperialist forces" into South Africa's affairs.

"South Africa is a sovereign state and has always respected the laws of these imperialist countries. The ANC condemns this dramatic holier than thou stance of these former colonisers and we would not like to relate to them on the history of master-slave relations," said the ANC in a statement.

The party has also accused the five countries of attempting to influence the outcome of the upcoming elections. 

"Each one of them has direct relations with the South African government and its various departments, and would not require this alarmist manner of communication," said the ANC.

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