South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations Luwellyn Landers has weighed in on the ongoing investigation against former South Africa’s controversial ambassador to Singapore, Ngubeni Hazel.
Standing before the portfolio committee on international relations and co-operation on Wednesday, the deputy minister bashed his department and the State Security Agency (SSA) for appointing a convicted drug dealer as an ambassador.
Landers described the appointment as disgraceful and outrageous; adding that Ngubeni’s appointment is the worst scandal Parliament’s portfolio committee has ever handled.
“How did this person become an ambassador for the Republic of South Africa? It’s an outrage, a total outrage. This portfolio committee has raised issues in the past about ambassadors, but this is probably the worst case we’ve had to deal with,” he cried out.
In his capacity as a deputy minister, Landers asked Parliament to take firm action against the international relations department and the State Security Agency (SSA) for humiliating the country.
He insisted that those responsible for Ngubeni’s appointment should be dealt with because her appointment “is not about politics, but about South Africa and its relations with people.”
The disappointed deputy minister, who appeared in Parliament to account for its 2015/16 annual report said Ngubeni’s appointment was an absolute disgrace to the department and the country at large.
It is understood that the embattled High Commissioner is the daughter of late MK operative Michael Mpandeni Ngubeni. Earlier this month, the Security Security Agency announced that her security clearance has been revoked; and that she is being investigated.
The 55-year-old former air hostess for South African Airways (SAA) made headlines last month after it emerged that she is a convicted drug dealer.
Ngubeni Hazel (who went by the name Francis MacDonald when she worked at SAA) was caught smuggling a bag of cocaine while working as a cabin attendant for SAA.
After her arrest, she spent two years in a US prison from 1999 to 2001. She reportedly confirmed her conviction claiming she was wrongfully jailed after a strange bag was uncovered in her luggage.
In 2013, she was able to out-smart diplomatic clearance authorities by hiding her conviction history when she was deployed to Singapore in 2013 as South Africa’s high commissioner.
She is not a first-timer in drug smuggling dealings. In September 1995, she was arrested at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. She was subsequently charged with smuggling 9kg of heroin into South Africa from Thailand.
Ngubeni Hazel was appointed to her position by a senior political leadership, according to records from the South African Department of International Relations.