The South African Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on International Relations – an oversight committee – today condemned South Africa’s Ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, regarding his closeness to the Israeli government, which is considered contrary to official line supported by the South African government and parliament.
In a statement, the committee said:
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Siphosezwe Masango, has called upon the Minister Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to investigate the veracity of the allegations reported in the media against South Africa’s ambassadors to Singapore and Israel […] Mr Masango said it was important that the record of those who represent South Africa abroad is above reproach. “South Africa’s image should not be compromised by the same people we send abroad to promote our country. We hope that the Minister will take appropriate corrective actions should the allegations be true,” Mr Masango said. […] The Committee further calls upon the Minister to establish whether Mr Ngombane’s reported pronouncements are in conflict with policy on Israel and Palestine
According to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign of South Africa (BDS SA), Ngombane “conducted himself in a deeply disrespectful, imposing, unprofessional and exceptionally distasteful manner” during a press conference to welcome human rights activist, Leigh Ann Naidoo, who was deported by Israel after participating in the recent Women’s Aid Flotilla to Gaza.
In a video recording of the event, Ngombane appeared to blame Palestinians for the attacks wrought on Gaza in 2014 before being interrupted by protesters.
According to BDS SA:
Ngombane has frequently contradicted both ANC resolutions and Government policies. We have received several reports increasingly suggesting that Ngombane has become an advocate for normalising relations, especially trade, with Israel.
He has previously said “it is important for the two governments [Israel and South Africa] to establish a pattern of meeting and talking so that they can find avenues of common ground outside the heated political arena. Trade is one of those avenues”