The Democratic Alliance has called on Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies to fully endorse Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and his pro-Taiwanese relations, after Msimanga was accused of treason by the African National Congress for visiting Taiwan.
DA MP Dean Macpherson said today that he had written to Davies, asking him to recommit to “continuing to build trade and investment relations with Taiwan and dismiss the ANC and the international relations and cooperation department’s reckless and hypocritical statements” about Msimanga’s trip to Taiwan.
Msimanga returned to South Africa on Monday after visiting Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, to liaise with its mayor. Though Msimanga is yet to reveal the outcome of his meeting with the Taiwanese mayor, the department has called the trip “regrettable” because it was in breach of South Africa’s foreign policy.
“The department was made aware of the visit and advised Mayor Msimanga not to undertake the visit because it would constitute a breach of our One China Policy. In a move that is highly regrettable, Mayor Msimanga disregarded the advice and proceeded with the visit,” the department said yesterday.
The DA believes that Davies was right to endorse a previous mission that took place in 2014, when the department “undertook an outward selling and investment mission to Taiwan, with 18 business people, all paid for by the department at a cost of R400 000.”
This excluded the cost of senior officials.
Macpherson said that accusing Msimanga of breaching the One China Policy was “laughable” by going to Taiwan, as “our own government did by undertaking the same trip two years earlier”.
Davies had said at the time that the trip would lead to “increased export orders, and more production output and the resultant additional job opportunities for South Africa.”
Macpherson emphasised the need to continue relations with Taiwan, which was the country’s second largest Asian investor with “R14 billion worth of investments and trade between the two countries totalling R22 billion.”
The Taiwan drama has split politicians down party lines.
READ: I still stand behind Taiwan, says Buthelezi on Msimanga trip
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi last week reaffirmed that he still stood firmly behind the island country.
But the South African Communist Party condemned Msimanga’s visit, labelling it as “proof that the DA will push South Africa back to the years of apartheid”.