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Disquiet over possible US ambassador to SA

Politics
Nic Wolpe, the CEO of Liliesleaf Trust, has returned from Washington DC, where he lobbied the US government and Congress on the choice of US ambassador to South Africa.

“I told them quite candidly that sending someone like Joel Pollak as ambassador to South Africa would send relations between South Africa and the US back to the dark ages,” Wolpe told Independent Media.

As Liliesleaf Trust has now been established in the US, Wolpe regularly travels to the US to raise funds. He was invited to the US by Microsoft’s head office to give a talk on South Africa’s liberation Struggle, as well as by the University of Kentucky to give two lectures on the same subject. Wolpe took the opportunity of being in the US to engage members of the US Congress, staffers on Capitol Hill, and senior officials at the US State Department.

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Joel Pollak is reported to be among candidates in line for the post of US ambassador to South Africa.

Wolpe got a warm reception from Republican and Democrat members of the US Congress, whom he informally engaged on the issue of US representation in South Africa.

“A number of people at home told me it would be helpful to raise concern on Capitol Hill that if the US were to send Pollak as ambassador, he would have very little success engaging with the government and people of South Africa.”

According to Wolpe, Republicans and Democrats whom he met expressed a recognition across party lines that the relationship between the US and South Africa was an important one.

Pollak, who works as the senior editor-at-large of the extreme right-wing Breitbart News in the US, was previously the deputy to Breitbart editor Steve Bannon, who is now the chief strategist and adviser to President Donald Trump.

“The US should not allow someone with extreme right-wing views to be the US representative in South Africa, especially given our history. Pollak espouses hatred if one considers Breitbart’s support for the Muslim travel ban which is predicated on religious grounds,” Wolpe said.

“How can people be expected to interact with such a person when he holds views opposite to our Freedom Charter and the values of our Struggle for liberation? His presence in South Africa will only inflame the rising discord and discontent”

The US embassy has confirmed to Independent Media that no decision has been taken on the choice for US ambassador to South Africa.

Foreign Bureau

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