ANC miffed by the DA’s Palestine visit attempt
Embassy denies Maimane was due to meet with its president
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