Koloane’s post ‘not an ideal situation’
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Durban - The apparent imminent diplomatic posting for the state protocol boss involved in the Guptagate scandal was “unfortunate” and could have devastating effects for the government in the long term, says a political analyst.
Bruce Koloane, the chief of state protocol who was demoted following the landing of a private jet carrying wedding guests of the Gupta family, at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, had been handed a top post as a diplomat in the Netherlands, the Sunday Tribune reported this week.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said it was unfortunate that the envoy who represented South Africa abroad could be seen as an individual who had fallen out of favour with the government, only to be given a plum posting abroad.
“It is not an ideal situation when you consider the corrosive impact of what diplomats are and who gets deployed. The public would like to believe there are no issues with our diplomats,” he said.
Fikeni said there would be nothing wrong with deploying people who had been in the wrong but had subsequently been properly rehabilitated.
If that was not the case, he said, an impression of South Africa being a “society of no consequences” could be created, which would not bode well for the country in the long run.
He said that on paper the decision would have been made by the minister of international relations and co-operation and the director-general of the department, but President Jacob Zuma, or even a deployment committee within the ruling party, could have had an influence.
Koloane, who was demoted to liaison officer, is expected to leave for The Hague this week .
The spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Clayson Monyela, would not answer questions put to him on the matter, saying only: “The department does not discuss nominations of members of the diplomatic corps, whether real or imagined.”
The DA’s spokesman on international relations, Stevens Makgopola, said the party would oppose Koloane’s move.
Makgopola said he would write to Moses Masango, the chairman of the portfolio committee on international relations, for an urgent sitting to determine Koloane’s fitness as a representative abroad.
“This is deeply concerning considering that Mr Koloane was alleged to have acted as President Zuma’s scapegoat in the Guptagate scandal, and accepted the blame,” he said.
Makgopola said the country deserved officials with integrity, explaining that Koloane’s qualifications for the job were immaterial given his admittance of guilt.
“We view this post as a kickback. Our diplomatic corps is not a place for rogue officials, our representatives must be above reproach.
“His integrity must be questioned,” he said, adding the appointment would send a negative message to the diplomatic corps.
Makgopola said there was a perception that diplomatic posts had been reduced to a “dumping block”.