The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco ) says proper diplomatic protocol was not followed when fives nations sent a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa warning him that failure to act against those implicated in corruption placed foreign investment at risk.
Dirco says despite this misstep, it acknowledges the letter and will have discussions with the diplomatic representatives of the five countries which have written a memorandum
The embassies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland dispatched a letter to Ramaphosa, expressing their concern about corruption and other crimes, in what has been described as an unprecedented move.
Dirco has described the move as a departure from normal diplomatic protocol. Minister 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,” according to a statement issued on Sunday.
“This is a departure from established diplomatic practice,” it said.
Dirco further stated that in terms of acceptable diplomatic practice, protocol and convention, diplomatic missions are “expected to communicate to the receiving state by means of a note verbal (diplomatic note)” conveyed through the department.
The memorandum by the five nations came as evidence before the commission of inquiry which is probing allegations of state capture detailed allegations of corruption against some government officials.
“No investor would venture to come to South Africa without proper and comprehensive guarantees for his investment,” one person was quoted in the Sunday Times.
Since his appointment in February 2017, Ramaphosa has embarked on a mission to boost foreign investment into the country, in a bid to stimulate the economy.
He has set a target of raising $100 billion over the next five years and appointed a special investment envoys tasked with selling the country abroad.