ANC miffed by the DA’s Pales­tine visit at­tempt

Em­bassy de­nies Maimane was due to meet with its pres­i­dent

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

THE ROW be­tween the ANC and DA over the visit to Is­rael by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion’s leader Mmusi Maimane has de­gen­er­ated into mud­sling­ing af­ter the rul­ing party ac­cused the DA of ly­ing.

This was af­ter the em­bassy of Pales­tine yes­ter­day de­nied DA claims that its leader, Maimane, had a sched­uled meet­ing with Pales­tinian leader Mah­moud Ab­bas.

The DA had claimed last week that while Maimane had met with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and other Is­raeli lead­ers, his meet­ing with Ab­bas was can­celled.

But the Pales­tinian em­bassy de­nied this, prompt­ing the ANC to cry foul.

ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa said the DA was mis­lead­ing the coun­try about its rea­son for the visit.

He said it was un­ac­cept­able that the DA had dragged Ab­bas’s name into the visit, say­ing that this was a lie.

“Ly­ing about an al­leged ap­point­ment with Pres­i­dent Ab­bas was a cheap at­tempt by the DA ,and Mmusi Maimane in par­tic­u­lar, to gain cred­i­bil­ity for this visit, which has now spec­tac­u­larly back­fired, ex­pos­ing the DA for what they are – un­prin­ci­pled with a cal­lous dis­re­gard for the Pales­tinian peo­ple,” said Kodwa.

The Pales­tinian em­bassy said Ab­bas never had any ap­point­ment with Maimane.

Maimane’s visit be­gan on Thurs­day, and he was due to re­turn to the coun­try yes­ter­day.

How­ever, the DA said yes­ter­day the state­ment by the Pales­tinian em­bassy and the ANC was inac­cu­rate.

It said the ANC was also wrong in rid­ing on the back of this state­ment with­out get­ting the proper facts.

The DA at­tached doc­u­ments re­quest­ing the meet­ing be­tween the two sides, and said there were tele­phonic con­fir­ma­tions of the meet­ing.

They also had tele­phonic dis­cus­sions with Ab­bas’s of­fice on the visit.

DA spokesper­son Phumzile van Damme said they were later told that Ab­bas would not be avail­able and the meet­ing was can­celled.

“We vis­ited the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries, met with hu­man rights ac­tivists, vis­ited refugees in Ra­mal­lah, and met with lead­ers of the busi­ness com­mu­nity and in­vestors, who are build­ing the new Pales­tine de­spite the on­go­ing con­flict,” said Van Damme.

She said they were un­per­turbed by the ANC’s po­lit­i­cal games as the DA was play­ing its role in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, af­ter the ANC had left a vac­uum.

The ANC has been in­volved in a spat with the DA over the past few weeks over for­eign re­la­tions is­sues.

DA Tsh­wane mayor Solly Msi­manga went to Tai­wan de­spite South Africa hav­ing cut diplo­matic ties with Taipei two decades ago.

The lat­est visit to Is­rael has an­gered the ANC, which has strongly al­lied it­self with the Pales­tinian cause.

The DA said it would fol­low up on in­for­ma­tion from the Pales­tinian em­bassy that there was an in­struc­tion not to meet with the DA del­e­ga­tion.

ON A MIS­SION: DA leader Mmusi Maimane

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