While political experts are perplexed by the intention behind South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela’s tweets on land, the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) said it would only deal with the matter once it had reached her.
This after a series of controversial tweets addressing “apartheid apologists” were shared last week from an unverified Twitter account supposedly belonging to the youngest daughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
One tweet read: “Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs”.
She also addressed “trembling white cowards” and “thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck [sic]” and said she was wondering how the “world of shivering land thieves” was doing.
Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said it was important to remember that the account was not verified and there was a chance that the tweets were not made by Mandela but by a hacker.
“We have been trying to get a hold of her but her phone is off,” said Monyela.
He said the department would only take action in accordance with the social media policy once it had contacted Mandela and investigated the matter.
He said it had not been established whether the account belonged to Mandela.
Political analyst Professor Andre Duvenage said these sentiments from the South African ambassador to Denmark, making her a spokesperson for the state, were out of line and contradicted government policy.
“I think she was out of line and strong action needs to be taken against her in terms of what she said [in the tweets] because the comments were racist and had no regard for reconciliation,” said Duvenage.
Despite this, he said he did not believe any action would be taken as government was very sympathetic towards her.
To him it was unfortunate because he said the land issue was a sensitive one in the country at the moment and it was not a good time to be making such sentiments public.
Another analyst, Ralph Mathekga, said what was important was what the government’s stance on the matter was.
“The issue here is not about who is right or wrong. “The issue here is of a diplomatic nature,” Mathekga said.
He said Mandela, like every other citizen, was entitled to her own opinion but when she took on the job as a diplomat, her comments were seen as reflecting the view of the government and not those of a citizen.