South Africa’s diplomatic relations with Israel have not been restored‚ says Pretoria

South Africa’s Ambassador to Israel‚ Sisa Ngombane‚ travelled to Tel Aviv for personal reasons‚ not to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Union Buildings, Pretoria. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

This is according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

“The South African Ambassador is still recalled for consultations and has not resumed his duties as an Ambassador for South Africa in Israel. Ambassador Ngombane travelled to Israel to deal with urgent family and personal issues. He is expected to return to South Africa as soon as these are completed‚” the department said in a statement.

Mandla Mandela was among the voices who accused the Pretoria administration of quietly resuming ties with Israel. He said in a statement on Monday that the ambassador’s return to Israel came after nearly 10 months of waiting for the South African government to implement the ANC’s 54th NGC resolution‚ calling for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“We believe that the return of the South African Ambassador is ill-considered and sends the wrong message to our people and‚ especially at a time when the United Nations is honouring the life and legacy of (former) president Nelson Mandela‚ we should be standing firmly by his position on Palestine. There can be no greater insult to the man who proclaimed for all the world to hear that the ‘Palestinian struggle is the greatest moral issue of our time’‚” said Mandla Mandela.

He saluted the UN for recognising “the momentous contribution of President Nelson Mandela to world peace‚ human rights and conflict resolution. Let the monumental statue at the UN Headquarters be a daily reminder to world leaders that the causes that he championed such as self-determination for the peoples of Palestine‚ Western Sahara and Kashmiri‚ remain as yet mere resolutions and lip-service whilst the oppression and suffering persists daily.”

The South African government reiterated that it had not changed its stance on Israel.

“The conditions that prompted the recall of our Ambassador to Israel for consultations in Pretoria have not changed. Any change in status in our diplomatic relations with the State of Israel will be communicated by the Department after due consultations with the President of South Africa.”


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