International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday said that her department would investigate the authenticity of the tweets from South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela.
“We are currently trying to find out exactly what the source of those tweets are and what occasioned the need to respond in the way that the ambassador has,” Pandor said to eNCA.
Mandela, the daughter of late former president Nelson Mandela and late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, set Twitter ablaze over the weekend with a series of fiery tweets about “white cowards and shivering land thieves”.
Pandor said that international relations and cooperation had a social media policy that all diplomats had to adhere to.
“We have a social media policy as the department and it’s absolutely imperative that all diplomats observe the policy. So, once we have established whether this is genuinely a tweet or set of remarks from her, we will be able to assess whether the comments are in compliance with our social media policy,” Pandor said.
Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said that it had no intention of requesting a meeting with ambassador Mandela regarding the tweets.
“The foundation would like to indicate that when we declined to comment on the story it was precisely because we had no insight into the story, or what had motivated the tweets from Ms Mandela, if indeed they were from her,” the foundation said.
“The foundation wishes to stress that it has no intention of requesting a meeting with Ms Mandela regarding the tweets.”
Earlier, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it was in full support of the views expressed on Twitter by Mandela.
EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Mandela had “correctly tweeted about the need for black people to get their land back from white land thieves and racists”.
Ndlozi said: “Following this tweet, the racist AfriForum has called on her to be fired as an ambassador to Denmark. We reject this call as racist, and seeking to suppress a legitimate open cry by the African child that land must be returned to its rightful owners, the black people. No African child must ever be suppressed or even threatened with losing any job or privileges for speaking the truth about the land.
“The land question must be resolved for a true decolonisation of our country to happen. Without the land, political freedom is futile and will soon be a joke.
“There is nothing racist by stating the correct fact that white people drove a racist project of land dispossession called colonisation. Through colonisation, they also gained cultural, religious and educational superiority, whilst suppressing and demonising Africans.”
The EFF said Mandela must be defended from an ongoing onslaught from the “racists”.
“We are further pleased that the Nelson Mandela Foundation has clarified that it never sought any meeting with her regarding her tweets. She has all the right to freedom of speech. Above all, we must reiterate with her that the land must come back; there must be expropriation of land without compensation for true decolonisation to happen,” said Ndlozi.
The ambassador’s supposed controversial tweets divided South Africa, with some slamming her tweets for “taking the country backwards”, while others praised her as a “fearless queen”.
Lobby group AfriForum meanwhile called on Pandor to recall and fire Mandela for the “racist and divisive” tweets.
On the other hand, Black First Land First party president Andile Mngxitama applauded the ambassador, saying his party backed her statements.
On Sunday, the hashtag #HandsOffZindziMandela topped Twitter trends, with many rallying behind her for speaking her mind.
– African News Agency