African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe raised some dust last week when he said 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.
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 had said.
He further claimed that South Africans who travelled for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme were brought home and ‘planted’ on campuses.
In response, State Security Minister David Mahlobo has said that South Africa won’t be found wanting in defending its sovereignty and people if an attempt to unconstitutional change the present regime arises. Mahlobo made this known while responding 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,” he said.
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.
Mahlobo reiterated that the state is ever ‘alert’ to possible attempts to unconstitutional effect regime change. But that he doesn’t subscribe to Gwede Mantashe’s claims that regular meetings are being organized at the United States embassy with the purpose of overthrowing the government.
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 point of 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.”
He asserted that African leaders said it would be better if the US interacted with the students through governments, and not directly.
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.
Meanwhile, American Ambassador Patrick Gaspard has taken Mantashe’s claims lightly. He said that people shouldn’t blame others for their own challenges.
See Also: We Are Aware Of The US Coup Threat – ANC