The Zindzi Mandela saga has raged through the week, with South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark copping some serious heat for her forthright opinions on land expropriation. She may have the support of the EFF, but the same cannot be said for the blue side of the divide: The DA are now pushing for a recall.
Zindzi, the daughter of Nelson Mandela, went on a tirade about racial inequality and the historical injustices of colonialism last Friday. After sparking a furious debate on Twitter, it wasn’t long until the big hitters got involved – AfriForum began their campaign to get the diplomat fired on Sunday.
Since then, the argument about free speech vs appropriate language has dominated the discourse in South Africa. But the DA are now nailing their colours to the mast. They actually believe Zindzi Mandela has broken the law – not for her Tweets, but rather due to her actions in the aftermath.
Has Zindzi Mandela broken the law?
The account she posts from hasn’t been active since Friday. On Tuesday morning, DIRCO stated they could not reach Mandela because she was travelling. This was a “problematic” issue for Darren Bergman, who is the party’s Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
Bergman has stated that it is an offence for an Ambassador to leave the country of accreditation “without departmental approval” and a further offence to be “uncontactable for days at a time”. This, in his book, is grounds for an immediate recall.
“If it is confirmed that Ambassador Mandela was the author of the divisive tweets and that she did not receive approval to express these views or to travel, she must be recalled immediately. Her comments on Twitter are unfortunate.”
“They seek to place blame on sections of the population for the complete failure of the government to grow our economy and achieve meaningful redress. This climate allows divisive and damaging politics to take root, as people retreat into their racial and cultural laagers.”
Debate rages on
Bergman was also concerned by Mandela’s urge to air her personal views in such a volatile and public environment, despite holding an office which requires solemn diplomacy.
The language used in her Tweets is the polar opposite of this, whether they are seen to be right or wrong. The MP has also written to DIRCO Minister Naledi Pandor, asking her to clarify if Mandela’s views reflect those of the ANC.