While the nation’s democracy gets hot amid violence in the parliamentary house, a number of foreign-based SA diplomats are being expelled following a report that they were being convicted of various offences – including one case of culpable homicide.
Among the expelled top diplomats affected are former ANC chief whip, now South Africa’s ambassador to Germany, Sisa Ngombane, ambassador to Israel who was arrested after attending a gathering after it was prohibited, Stone Sizani and Mthembisi Mjikeliso, who was convicted for culpable homicide in Botswana.
The SA Department of International Relations and Co-operation, who confirmed knowledge of the expulsion of the foreign-based SA diplomats, has asked the State Security Agency to investigate whether it should withdraw the security clearance of the eight diplomats before their expulsion.
While Sizani was slated for being guilty of public violence and violating the Value Added Tax Act, the SA diplomat in Bulgaria, BP Motloung, was arrested for reckless and negligent driving. This is but a few from the list of the SA diplomats abroad who were expelled of recent.
There are other diplomats who have also been arrested and found guilty of other offenses. In a recent written reply in Parliament, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said no decision had been taken on the future of these diplomats.
“When an official has committed a crime, a full vetting investigation is conducted in order to determine if his or her security clearance must be withdrawn. If it is withdrawn, the official will not be able to be posted again as a security clearance is a requirement for a posting,” said Nkoana-Mashabane who mentioned eight diplomats who were arrested for various offenses abroad.
The other diplomats who are under investigation are P Mukeni, who is accused of reckless and negligent driving, Motlaung was also arrested and charged with a similar offence in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.
South Africa has more than 100 diplomatic missions across the globe after the government said it wanted to strengthen relations with most of the countries. It also has strong trade relations with its traditional partners in the US and Europe.
Though it is still not clear as to when the agency will conclude the investigation into the security clearance of the diplomats, cases like these are not new to the internal relations department.
In the past, other South African diplomats have been found on the wrong side of the law in foreign countries. Former ambassador to Japan Mohau Pheko was equally found to have falsified her PhD qualifications after it was discovered she had obtained her degree from a fake university.