SA ambassador back in Israel for 'personal reasons' - Dirco

2018-09-24 22:32
South African ambassador Sisa Ngombane (GCIS)

South African ambassador Sisa Ngombane (GCIS)

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The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) has clarified that Sisa Ngombane, South Africa's ambassador to Israel, has returned to the Middle East country for "personal reasons", Netwerk24 reports.

The SA government announced earlier this year that it would downgrade its Israeli embassy to a liaison office, after the ANC resolved to that effect at its elective conference in December last year.

It also withdrew Ngombane from Tel Aviv in May following the killing of around 40 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army during a protest.

Media reports on Monday had claimed Ngombane had returned to his post. ANC MP Nkosi Mandla Mandela on Monday criticised the government after learning that Ngombane had "quietly" returned to Israel.

Dirco has now clarified that South Africa's position had not changed, and Ngombane was not back to resume his duties.

He was paying urgent attention to personal matters and his family, who had stayed behind in Tel Aviv, a statement said.

He would return to South Africa as soon as possible.

The department added that any changes in policy toward Israel would be communicated by the department after consultation with the president.

*Netwerk24 reporter Sarel van der Walt is a political journalist accompanying the president by invitation of the Presidency and the department of international relations, to report on events in New York for Media24's publications.

Read more on:    dirco

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