News / South Africa

Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
4 Feb 2019
5:03 pm

ANC calls US-European memo to Ramaphosa a new attempt at state capture

Gopolang Moloko

The ruling party has condemned the 'holier than thou stance' from five developed countries after an unprecedented letter was sent to the president.

On the up: The ANC hoisted a giant New Year's banner bearing the face of Cyril Ramaphosa, credited with reviving party fortunes after the scandal-hit era of Jacob Zuma. AFP/RAJESH JANTILAL

The ANC has condemned “interference” by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland into South Africa’s affairs.

This comes after the five countries wrote a memorandum last week to President Cyril Ramaphosa, warning that South Africa needed to clarify the moves it intends to take against corruption if it hopes to attract foreign direct investment.

The memorandum, reportedly signed off by the five countries, stated that the president should show a clear commitment to enforcing the rule of law. They were concerned about the challenges facing foreign investment, referring to constant changes in the framework for mining, BEE targets and intellectual property rights.

The ANC, responding to the memorandum, said they did not appreciate the “threats and bullying” tone from the five countries and were in the process of ridding the country of state capture and corruption anyway.

“These countries decided to communicate directly with the president of our country via their embassies, an act that can be deemed as undermining and dismissive of diplomatic practices. They leaked their letters to the media, suggesting they had less than honourable intentions.”

The party said they viewed the missive by the five countries as an act to influence the outcome of this year’s 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.

“South Africa has been a leading light on the global stage in tackling these matters without fear or favour. It has embarked on this path in a responsible manner, such that our economy and our people are not disadvantaged. To attempt to exploit our frankness in dealing with global challenges smacks of arrogance and overreach.”

In their statement, the party added they viewed the interference by the five countries as another form of state capture. They cautioned that they would not be fooled into swapping “one attempt of state capture and corruption” for another.

The department of international relations (Dirco) said director-general Kgabo Mahoai and his deputy Yolisa Maya met with the heads of the diplomatic missions representing Switzerland, UK, Germany, Netherlands and the US “to express SA’s displeasure that the heads of mission did not follow established diplomatic channels when communicating to the South African government”.

Reacting to the reports, Dirco Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a démarche.

In the statement, Dirco said: “The heads of the diplomatic missions regretted the misunderstanding and further 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.

“The meeting concluded by agreeing that in future proper diplomatic channels and protocols will be followed in all diplomatic communications.  The heads of the diplomatic missions also reiterated their commitment to working actively in support of South Africa’s investment drive.”

President Ramaphosa is on a drive to raise US $100 billion in foreign investment.

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