Statement of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation on the false media headline attributed to President Thabo Mbeki.

June 24, 2019

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation has noted widespread responses to media headlines which falsely state that “Thabo Mbeki wants action to be taken against Zindzi Mandela”.

On Saturday, President Mbeki answered questions posed to him by a journalist from the education desk of the Sunday Tribune. During the interview, the journalist asked whether President Mbeki had read Ambassador Mandela’s Tweet on the land question.

His reply was that he had not read the Tweet. President Mbeki, however, explained the discipline and culture of the diplomatic world in which, as representatives of the President of the Republic and broadly the Government, Ambassadors and High Commissioners represent official government policy; not their views and opinions.

This is so in part because the system of government, as indeed the fabric of foreign policy, would be seriously imperilled were officials to express their personal views as and when they see fit. This has absolutely nothing to do with Ambassador Mandela’s views or her right to hold her views.

Accordingly, President Mbeki explained that prior to taking action, if such action was contemplated, the President or Government would have to consider Ambassador Mandela’s comments relative to the positions of government on the land question. At no point did he call for any action to be taken against Ambassador Mandela. This is borne out by everything the journalist quoted from President Mbeki.

We would like to caution members of the public to beware methods of mobilisation by means of false, emotive narratives and caricatures of derogation. Such methods do not in the least advance public understanding of vital political and public policy matters. To the contrary, they whip up a frenzy which serves the interests of the system we need to transform for the benefit of our people as a whole.

Issued by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation

For enquiries, contact: Siyabulela Gebe, +27 (0) 72 371 4807

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