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Mandla Mandela calls for immediate downgrade of SA embassy in Israel

By Staff reporter Time of article published Sep 25, 2018

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Pretoria - The South African government finds itself under immense pressure to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv more than ever before.

This comes as pro-Palestine organisations and human rights activists insist that South Africa should implement the ANC's Resolution taken at its 54th national conference in December to downgrade the embassy and recall its ambassador Sisa Ngombane. 

Following reports that Ngombane had allegedly been reinstated this past weekend to his post as ambassador to Israel, a number of organisations and human rights groups such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South African movement have condemned any actions that may indicate that Ngombane is back in office. 

It accused certain officials within the ruling party for "failing and possibly refusing" action this. 

"The delays are insulting and the good faith between civil society, the electorate and government is disintegrating," the movement said in a statement, adding the call to downgrade the embassy was a collective one that included churches, civil society and political parties. 

Former president Nelson Mandela's grandson, chief Mandla Mandela, has also entered the fray. Mandela called for the embassy to be downgraded with immediate effect.

"It is with great shock and dismay that we learn of the surreptitious and "quiet" return of the South African Ambassador Sisa Ngombane to Israel. This comes after nearly 10 months of waiting for the South African government to implement the ANCs 54th NGC resolution calling for the “immediate and unconditional " downgrade of the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv," Mandela has said.

"We believe that the return of the South African Ambassador is ill-considered and sends the wrong message to our people, especially at a time when the United Nations is honouring the life and legacy of 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."

The department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has emphasised that Ngombane has not been placed back into his post and that he was only back in Israel to handle urgently family matters and would be returning to South Africa soon.

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