Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South Africa

Newsline: Diplomat’s guards under investigation for shooting ‘robber’ in South Africa

Security guards protecting a diplomat are under investigation for attempted murder after they shot and wounded an alleged robber in Pretoria. A graphic video – which has gone viral – shows the diplomat and his entourage attempting to drive off shortly after the man‚ who was armed with a knife‚ was shot in Du Toit Street. Police spokesman‚ Colonel Lungelo Dlamini‚ said a case of attempted murder was under investigation. “Those who shot the knife-man were security guards for the diplomat. They were confronted by the man who they shot in the upper body‚” he said‚ declining to identify the diplomat’s nationality. He said the wounded man was taken to hospital.



Newsline: South Africa protests to US embassy over Trump “shithole” remark

South Africa has protested to the U.S. embassy in Pretoria about reported remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump that some immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from “shithole” countries. South Africa’s foreign ministry called the remarks, which sources said Trump made earlier this week during a meeting on immigration legislation, “crude and offensive” and said Trump’s subsequent denial was not categorical. “Relations between South Africa and the United States, and between the rest of Africa and the United States, must be based on mutual respect and understanding,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. It said it would ask the second-in-charge of the U.S. embassy to explain Trump’s comments on Monday.


Newsline: Iranian Embassy sayd Tehran not using South Africa as recruiting ground

The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria has categorically denied that Tehran is using South Africa as a ground for recruiting agents to carry out attacks on Israel. The embassy told the African News Agency (ANA) in a press statement that it strongly denied reports in the South African media last week following a press release from the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, based on an intelligence report by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet, that a three-man cell with South African and Iranian links had been arrested in the West Bank. The media reports stated that three Palestinians were arrested by Israeli security forces, among them the main suspect, a 29-year-old computer engineering student named Mohammed Maharmeh from the Hebron area in the southern West Bank. According to the Shin Bet, Maharmeh was recruited into Iranian intelligence by a relative, Bahar Maharmeh, who resides in South Africa.


Newsline: South Africa’s ruling party resolves to downgrade embassy in Israel

South Africa’s ruling party resolved to call on the government to immediately downgrade the country’s embassy in Israel. During the last days of the African National Congress’ biannual National Conference this week in Johannesburg, the party unanimously passed a resolution to turn the embassy in Ramat Gan into a “liaison office.” However, it is unclear whether the government in Pretoria will implement the decision. “In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine; the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office,” the resolution passed Wednesday stated.


Newsline: South Africa mulls downgrading its embassy in Israel

If South Africa downgrades its embassy in Israel, the important trade, tourism, scientific and technological ties between the two countries would most likely be undermined while doing nothing to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood, according to a panel discussion held on the subject in Johannesburg. The discussion followed calls in July by South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, for the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel to a “liaison office,” saying it was “concerned by the lack of commitment from Israel to finding a resolution to the Palestinian question.” The issue will be discussed and decided upon at the party’s National Policy Conference next month.


Newsline: South African group pickets outside Tanzanian embassy for release of arrested activists

A group of people are picketing outside the Tanzanian embassy in Pretoria to demand the urgent release of 13 people, including two South Africans. Lawyers and activists working for social justice NGO Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and Chesa were arrested in that country earlier this month for allegedly promoting homosexuality. But they have not yet been formally charged, despite intense talks with the Tanzanian police to release the group.


Newsline: Former South African ambassador found guilty of hate speech

The South Gauteng High Court ordered former South African ambassador to Uganda Jon Qwelane to apologise to the gay community for his 2008 newspaper column which the court found to be harmful. Judge Dimpheletse Seun Moshidi found Qwelane guilty of hate speech emanating from a column he penned in 2008 while working as a journalist. ”The offending statements made against the LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning) community are declared by this court to be hurtful, inciting harm, propagating hatred as envisaged in Section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Unfair Prevention of Discrimination Act of 2000. The applicant is ordered to tender to the LGBTIQ community an unconditional apology within 30 days, or another period as parties may agree upon,” Moshidi said. ”The apology shall be published in one edition of the Sunday Sun newspaper or publication of the same circulation as a Sunday newspaper in order to receive the same publicity as the offending statements. Proof of the publication of such apology shall be furnished to this court immediately thereafter.” The self-confessed homophobe was also ordered to pay the legal costs for the long-running case, including the postponements. Moshidi further dismissed Qwelane’s constitutional challenge of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act hate speech clause, which Qwelane said was ”vague and too broad.” The column, titled “Call me names, but gay is not ok” was published in the Sunday Sun newspaper, and drew widespread criticism from activists who accused Qwelane of promoting hate speech. It was accompanied by a cartoon that portrayed homosexuality as bestiality.