ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has accused the DA of using its visits to Israel and Taiwan as part of a programme to work with governments that are hostile to South Africa and undermine the government.
“That is what I am worried about; the bigger influence it has on our politics. The visit of [Mmusi] Maimane is part of the bigger programme of the DA consolidating its relationships with parties that can be hostile to South Africa and therefore undermine the ANC and in the process, undermine sovereign policies of the government. That is what I worry about, not the visits. The visits are symptoms,” he said.
The DA’s Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga was taken to task recently for a visit in December to Taiwan. The national government’s approach recognises the One China policy, meaning it only has political relations with mainland Republic of China and not Taiwan.
“This was not just a visit of the mayor to Taiwan. It follows a political relationship between the DA and the Democratic Progressive Party, (DPP) which is now the governing party in Taiwan, which is a secessionist party and has been quite aggressive in reaching out and getting connections everywhere.
“And I think they [the DPP] found it attractive to work with the DA in South Africa to undermine the One China policy,” Mantashe said.
Last week DA leader Maimane posed for a photograph with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, taken during his visit to Israel. This earned him opprobrium because he had not met with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinian embassy said it was not informed of the opposition leader’s visit, nor did it or the Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs know of any planned meetings with Palestinian politicians.
However, DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said that the party had dealt directly with the office of the Palestinian president but had to cancel the meeting due to a conflict in schedules on Abbas’ side.
Mantashe told journalists on Tuesday morning that it was important to not just look at the visits separately, but to analyse the DA’s strategy with the visit.
He said the DA wanted to undermine the ANC government and the sovereignty of the state.
“So it is not the visit which is an issue for me. It is that bigger picture, which we should be analysing in detail because it was not just Msimanga but the DA delegation that visited DPP in Taiwan,” Mantashe said.
Speaking on Power FM on Tuesday afternoon, Maimane defended his visit saying that it was more of a fact-finding mission coupled with a spiritual journey that ties in with his Christian roots. He was also critical of the government's stance on both Israel and Taiwan calling the ruling party hypocrites.
“This government is completely confused. They are discouraging people from going to Israel but last year they sent a water delegation to Israel. They are discouraging people from going to Taiwan but they have an ambassador there. They are the biggest hypocrites to the subject.”