Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor has reprimanded South Africa's ambassador in Denmark Zindzi Mandela over controversial tweets she made over the weekend.
Last week, Mandela tweeted: "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.
By Saturday, Mandela was trending as she took on social media users who had disagreed with her view on the land debate.
In an interview on Talk Radio 702 on Friday morning, Pandor told host Bongani Bingwa that she had reprimanded Mandela over her tweets.
"I've spoken to Ambassador Mandela [and] she confirmed that those tweets were hers. She reported to me that she'd had weeks of what she termed 'extreme provocation' and degradation through various comments about her parents, particularly Mrs [Winnie Madikizela-] Mandela and [former president Nelson] Mandela...
"I informed her that she is a diplomat and I expect diplomatic conduct from her, and that she should adhere to the social policy guiding how public servants should utilise social media," Pandor said.
"So, we agreed that she must really constrain herself and focus on stating government policy because she, as our representative, should be advancing the policy goals of South Africa."
On the matter of land, Pandor emphasised, no one can call Mandela into question.
Crossed the line
"We are committed to addressing equality of access to land. So on the matter of land ownership changing, you can't argue against that. However, once you begin as an ambassador to be personal, and to refer to individuals in a way that could be construed as personal, you then cross the border.
"Therefore I said to her she must ensure that she recalls at all times that she's a representative of the president and of South Africa in Denmark and must conduct herself in terms of that."
Over the past week, various political parties and social media influencers, as well as a right-wing Afrikaans singer, weighed in on the issue.
The Freedom Front Plus insisted that government should take action against Mandela for her "racist and divisive" tweets.
The DA said on Tuesday it also believed that Mandela's comments were a strong enough basis for her to be recalled as ambassador.
ANC national executive committee member and Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula also entered the fray, seemingly calling Mandela to order by tweeting: "Ambassador, hold it right there, comrade."
The EFF, on the other hand, rejected lobby group AfriForum's call to have Mandela fired over her tweets.
Controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr caused a stir when he tweeted: "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."
The ANC intends to lay criminal charges against Hofmeyr on Thursday, following the threats he made to Mandela and DA MP Phumzile van Damme, News24 reported.
Van Damme made headlines after she punched a man at the V&A Waterfront who came into her space and allegedly said: "Voetsek, you black," before throwing her phone on the ground.
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