Mandla Seopela bases his criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy positions and decisions on a set of brazen lies which, if left unchallenged, may be construed as factual by the gullible (“Is this the worst leader of the ANC in a century?”, The Star, November 6).

Among other things, the writer claims that: “On the indictment of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court, Zuma communicated more than three different positions.” The writer does not say what those opposing positions are. Simply on the basis of its lack of substance, the claim must be rejected.

With regard to the conflict in Libya, we are told: “Zuma’s administration voted in favour [of Resolution 1973] without understanding the full meaning of the resolution.”

This is a false assumption.

The purpose of Resolution 1973 was to stop Libyan authorities from committing acts of violence against the civilian population. After the adoption of the resolution, the Libyan regime continued to kill and displace thousands of civilians.

The stated position of the South African government, which Seopela appears clueless about, was that the resolution – and the “no-fly zone” provided therein – “constitute an important element for the protection of civilians and the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those most vulnerable and those desperately in need of such assistance”.

Perhaps the most brazen of all of Seopela’s claims is when he says the South African government “continues to claim that they understood [Resolution 1973] to mean that no aircraft, including Nato planes, were permitted in Libyan airspace”. What bunkum! Who said that? Where? When?

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, South Africa carries a responsibility to act within the confines of international law.

The South African government is opposed, as a matter of principle, not only to unlawful regime change that is engineered by outsiders, but also to foreign occupation of sovereign states.

Nelson Kgwete

Director: Media Liaison

Department of International Relations and Co-operation