South Africa 11.1.2017 05:01 pm

Msimanga says he went to Taiwan on a diplomatic passport

Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga presents the Mayor of Taoyuan City, Cheng, Wen-tsan, with a gift during their meeting. Picture: Supplied

Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga presents the Mayor of Taoyuan City, Cheng, Wen-tsan, with a gift during their meeting. Picture: Supplied

Tshwane mayor calls ANC and government’s reaction ‘manufactured outrage’.

In the ongoing battle between the department of international relations (Dirco) and the ANC on one side and DA mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga on the other, the mayor has again defended his visit to the country.

The department and the ANC slammed the mayor for allegedly disrespecting government’s “One China” policy, which, like many major countries, does not recognise the independence of Taiwan from China. The ANC even alleged Msimanga may have committed treason.

They accused the DA of attempting to create their own foreign policy in a parallel government, a charge that the party has rejected.

Now, in a press conference in the capital on Wednesday, Msimanga has dismissed the allegations against him as “manufactured outrage” because he claims his trip was actually cleared with Dirco before he went.

He alleged that Dirco only started telling him they were against his trip “five minutes” before he was aboard his flight to Asia. He said they told him if he boarded the plane they would release a statement against him, but he alleges this was the first time he heard anything untoward about his trip from the department.

He said he did not regret his visit and explained that it had been about establishing business connections and good governance. He added that he had explained the matter to the Chinese embassy in writing.

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