South African foreign policy has proven itself to be supremely consistent. It’s a pity though, that it’s a consistent, poorly thought-out mess. This consistency spans from South Africa’s dealings with Zimbabwe and more recently Libya, to the current repeat saga around the effective refusal of a visa for the Dalai Lama (a la Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s precendent set in 2009).
Wonkie often wonders whether the government runs some sort of secret internal competition titled Amazing Race to Incompetence. That would certainly help explain much of what is going on across various departments at present. In the lead at the moment would probably be Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. If Ms Maite’s key performance indicators include creating confusion and publicly embarrassing South Africa on political matters through scatty policy, it is safe to say she is doing an excellent job.
Government stupidity aside for a moment, Wonkie’s heart goes out to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu whose controversial statements earlier this year about taxing the whites resulted in Wonkie’s most popular post ever. Tutu is turning 80 on Friday, 7th October and unfortunately will not have the Dalai Lama by his side to celebrate it as he had wished.
The ANC spin doctors, Jackson Mthembu included, tried to haplessly do some damage control with some pathetically vain attempts at justifying their course of action. The fact of the matter is that the ANC continually delayed granting the visa to the point where the Dalai Lama cancelled his application. The Dalai Lama in the end politely stated that he wished to cause no further inconvenience to the South African government.
The sad bit is that even the senior ANC leadership – specifically Kgalema Motlanthe demonstrated his spinelessness on foreign policy once again. Wonkie’s advanced read-between-the-lines binoculars accurately detected Mothlanthe’s hidden message on the Dalai Lama visa after the application was cancelled:
As contradictory as it sounds, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was anything but at peace with the ANC government. Tutu categorically stated:
“Our government is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government.”
“The trouble is that the ANC on the whole reckons that the freedom we enjoy is due to them. They reckon everyone else is just a sideline.”
Desmond Tutu further went on to condemn the ANC:
“We will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government; we will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us”
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Related articles on ANC foreign policy:
- South Africa and Libya
- South African foreign policy – Zimbabwe
- Dalai Lama jokes
- Department of Foreign Affairs