The African National Congress is likely to have a chat with US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard over his sarcastic response on Twitter to allegations that America is pursuing unconstitutional regime change in South Africa.
Speaking during a media briefing, ANC Cabinet minister Edna Molewa, who chairs the party’s sub-committee on International Relations, said it is pertinent to have a crucial meeting with the United States emissary.
“What we are looking forward to do, is to have an engagement with the US ambassador’s office, especially given the manner in which the responses came from the other side. If I was a member of the diplomat in the US and a statement like that is made, what would I do? I would certainly get in the car and go to a Luthuli House of US and have a discussion. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, we are going to have to do that in the ANC capacity,” Molewa said.
The US Ambassador Gaspard had taken to twitter to pour out his mind about ANC’s secretary general’s claim that he had knowledge of meetings going on at the US embassy aimed at mobilizing opposition to the party and sowing seeds of anarchy in South Africa.
Gwede Mantashe made the claims against the US while speaking to ANC members during an anti-racism march organised by the ruling party.
“We are aware of the programme that takes young people to the United States for six weeks then bring them back and plant them everywhere in the campuses,” he said.
He further claimed that South Africans who traveled for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme were brought home and ‘planted’ on campuses.
But State Security Minister David Mahlobo has reassured everyone that South Africa will be able to defend its sovereignty and people if an attempt to unconstitutional change the present regime arises. Mahlobo said this when he responded to a question at a briefing by Parliament’s cluster committee on international trade and co-operation and state security.
“We are not an exception, we are not immune [to regime change].
“In South Africa we are always alert. There are certain activities that we always keep an eye on.”
“If anyone seeks to undermine South Africa, we will be able to follow you. We will not allow South Africa to become a ground for regime change.”
“We will be able to defend the State,” Mahlobo answered.
The minister said no statement has been issued to the US government, accusing them of pursuing regime change in South Africa but “we know that there’s always temptation in foreign intelligence services. It happens all the time; they seek to subvert certain processes in certain countries,” Mahlobo said.
Reacting to the programme [which Mantashe used as a reference], that takes youths to the US for six weeks before planting them on university campuses and elsewhere; the minister said,
“There is a programme called the Young African Leadership Initiative. It’s a very important programme. Concerns have been raised by African leaders. This programme must be done working hand-in-hand with the African government.”
Mahlobo maintained that South Africa’s relationship with the US is on a steady ground. In fact, he described the relationship to be “very strong, very cordial” as shown in the conclusion of the very difficult talks over the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.
The United State Ambassador to South Africa tweeted: