PRETORIA – International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has instructed her department to demarche the five ambassadors whose countries reportedly sent a memorandum on corruption and other threats to the rule of law and investment in South Africa to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The department noted with "disappointment the dispatching of a memorandum to the office of the presidency by the embassies" of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.
This was a departure from established diplomatic practice, the department said in a statement on Sunday.
According to media reports earlier on Sunday, the five countries had warned that Ramaphosa’s international investment drive could fail if he did not act against perpetrators of state capture, corruption, and other crime. Concerns about obstacles to foreign investment reportedly included constant changes in the mining regulatory framework.
In its statement, the department said in terms of acceptable diplomatic practice, protocol, and convention, diplomatic missions were expected to communicate to the receiving state by means of a note verbal (diplomatic note) conveyed through the department.
All embassies, regional, and international organisations accredited to South Africa were aware of this protocol and universal norm. South African diplomatic missions abroad consistently observed this protocol by directing official communication to the respective foreign ministries in the countries of accreditation, the department said.
The South African government was intensifying its efforts to deepen and expand economic relations with a number of countries around the world, and was "pleased with the enthusiastic response its efforts have yielded thus far". All matters that had been raised by investors were being addressed by the respective clusters of government.
"We are satisfied that all the branches of our democratic state, including state agencies, are vigorously pursuing their respective mandates to address our current challenges.
"The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu has instructed the department to demarche the concerned ambassadors with a view to discussing substantive matters contained in their correspondence, and to reiterate acceptable protocol in addressing such matters.
"The department of international relations and cooperation would like to remind all diplomatic missions accredited to South Africa to address official correspondence through the appropriate diplomatic channels," the statement said.
African News Agency (ANA)