Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South Africa

Newsline: South Africa to downgrade embassy in Israel

The ANC national policy conference has adopted a policy recommendation made by the ANC in the Western Cape to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office in a bid to reduce diplomatic ties to Israel. On Tuesday, the NPC adopted the downgrade recommendation and it is set to be ratified in December at the ANC’s elective conference. The resolution on the downgrade reads: “The commission called for the downgrading of the SA Embassy in Israel to send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine”. The ANC Western Cape made the recommendation because it says Israel has continued to treat Palestine with violence instead of attempting to reach a peace agreement. The Palestinian government has backed a two-state solution which would mean that both Israel and Palestine are recognised as sovereign states. Israel, meanwhile, has refused to endorse a two-state solution. The ANC has also supported a two-state solution. While the ANC NPC has adopted the policy recommendation, the party’s national conference in December will still have to approve the resolution before it is final and government can implement it. The government will continue to have diplomatic relations with Israel, however, because the Israeli embassy in South Africa will continue to be active.


Newsline: Zimbabweans in South Africa Storm Embassy in Pretoria to Demand Voting Rights

Scores of Zimbabweans living in South Africa stormed the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria, demanding the right to vote in the 2018 general elections, reports said. According to News Day, the protesters first gathered at the Union Buildings before proceeding to the Zimbabwean embassy to present their petition. Reports late last year indicated that Zimbabwe’s three million or so diasporans were most certainly not going to be allowed to vote in the upcoming elections unless they came home twice – once to register and then again to vote.


Newsline: South African embassy staff accused of bribery in Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans seeking work or study permits in South Africa have called for the censure of two South African embassy officials, whom they accuse of demanding bribes to process their permits. The two were identified as Mrs Grace Segkole and a Mr Malebogo. Some of the victims of the alleged corruption, who spoke to The Herald said the two officials should either be reassigned or relieved of their duties.


Newsline: Russian Embassy in South Africa denies underworld ties to Cape Town

The Russian Embassy in South Africa has denied that 25 men have been brought into Cape Town to bolster a faction of the underworld, intent on taking over club security. News24 earlier this month reported that several sources had said that a change in visa regulations between Russia and South Africa may have spurred a massive underworld coup, and that Eastern European men had been brought into the country as part of this. The nightclub security takeover was carried out in the early hours of March 31, the day after visa-free travel was introduced between Russia and South Africa. It is understood this is under investigation by the authorities. Well-placed sources said Russian men had been brought into the country. However, in a statement issued via Twitter, the Russian Embassy in South Africa denied this. “Even in terms of geography, unnamed citizens of Eastern Europe and Ukraine, either real or imaginary, come from Eastern Europe and Ukraine, and visa regulations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa cannot be applied to them. The embassy labelled the News24 article as “fake news”. Several well-placed sources told News24 that those recently brought into the country were guided by a Ukrainian businessman based in Cape Town, allegedly with close ties to the underworld. Previously Yuri “the Russian” Ulianitski, who was referred to as “the Russian”, but who was Ukrainian, and who was killed in Milnerton in 2007, had run a bouncer racket in Cape Town.


Newsline: DRC Shuts Down Embassy in Pretoria ‘Until Next Year’

South Africans wanting to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would not be able to get any visas from the country’s Pretoria embassy until the new year. Citizens from that country who live in South Africa and who need new passports, would also have to wait. DRC ambassador to South Africa, Bene M’Poko, said he had closed the embassy until January 4 because he feared for the safety of his staff, after protests in front of the embassy turned violent. “I closed the embassy because I know what they are planning, and I’m a major target. They said they are planning to do what happened in Turkey,” he said. The Russian ambassador in Ankara was assassinated by a police officer on Monday. “They want to burn the embassy and they want to kills us,” he said of the protesters. “I can’t under those circumstances send my people to work. Their lives are dear, I can’t expose them to that.”


Newsline: Congolese ‘threaten to burn down’ embassy in Pretoria

Democratic Republic of the Congo expatriates in Gauteng are set to have a “prayer meeting” on Friday, days ahead of a planned march on the country’s embassy in Pretoria. Their action is set to coincide with protests by opposition supporters in the DRC on Tuesday, the first day after President Joseph Kabila’s term of office expires according to the country’s constitution. There are fears that Kabila would attempt to change the country’s constitution to allow himself a third term. Elections were supposed to take place this year, but the country’s electoral commission has proposed an 18-month delay of the election date so that a census and voter registration could be completed. Protesters had threatened to occupy and burn down the embassy. The South African police was tasked to protect the building and staff. Meanwhile Congolese citizens who have the means have already started leaving the country for an extended Christmas break over fears that next week’s planned protests would lead to a widespread outbreak of violence.


Newsline: 7 Indian Embassy Websites Apparently Breached

The websites of seven of India’s embassies apparently were hacked and some data pertaining to Indian citizens leaked online by the attackers claiming responsibility. The hackers say they wanted to call attention to the sites’ vulnerabilities. Indian embassies in South Africa, Malawi, Switzerland, Libya, Mali, Romania and Italy apparently were breached, according to The Hacker News, the security research and media outlet that first reported the incidents. Personal data on Indian citizens living abroad that was breached included names, home addresses, email, passport numbers and phone numbers, The Hacker News reports. That data has since been removed, and all seven websites were functioning as of late Nov. 7 India time. However, a cached version could be found on Google. ISMG was unable to verify the authenticity of the data.