The end of Zindzi Mandela’s term may have driven tirade

Zindzi Mandela is seen leaving her hotel on December 6, 2013 in London, England. Picture: Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images
Zindzi Mandela is seen leaving her hotel on December 6, 2013 in London, England. Picture: Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor is consulting her department’s director-general Kgabo Mahoai to decide if further steps on the country’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela, are necessary.

On Tuesday night, Pandor addressed Mandela about the unsavoury Twitter spat she had become involved in with various white South Africans.

Pandor said Mandela’s tweets were inappropriate for an ambassador.

Mandela’s term as ambassador of Denmark expires at the end of the month, and she probably knows that she is not being considered for another term in the position.

“That is why she was so reckless in making the comments she did on Twitter, in which she disparaged people for their skin colour,” an experienced former ambassador said this week.

Mandela’s comments, made last Friday, were among the most serious missteps a diplomat could make, said the former ambassador.

“It is on the same level as the comments made by Joseph Nkosi, South Africa’s ambassador to Venezuela, who had threatened to send South African troops to protect Venezuela from the US in April last year.”

Nkosi made the comments during a diplomatic ceremony to honour former president Nelson Mandela.

He was not recalled by the then minister of international relations and cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu.

But Mahoai wrote a strongly worded letter to Nkosi, demanding that he retract the comment as it went against “government policy”. Nkosi unreservedly withdrew the comment and officially apologised.

Pandor confirmed that Zindzi Mandela’s term in Denmark would soon be over.

“Correspondence regarding that is on my desk. However, it is the president who appoints ambassadors, not me,” she said in response to questions.

Mandela began her term in Copenhagen in June 2015. An ambassador’s term lasts for four years, but can be renewed for another four years.

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