South Africa is currently pondering over a Foreign Service Bill to ensure that citizens act in accordance with “the national interest,” especially politicians from the opposition parties.
The bill, brought up by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, “will re-conceptualize, harmonize and bring synergy to various actors outside the country. It will ensure that the people who work in the Foreign Service understand what the national interest means,” Siphosezwe Masango, chairperson of the Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, said in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.
According to Masango, “Such legislation is now urgent because of shenanigans shown by the opposition politicians.”
Solly Msimanga, Mayor of Tshwane, traveled to Taiwan recently, ignoring the one-China policy and defying the advice from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in order to “create tension between us and China,” the chairperson said.
Moreover, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane visited Israel recently, despite the South African president discouraging people from doing so, Masango added.
Masango added they want to avoid a situation where politicians misrepresent South Africa’s foreign policies when traveling abroad. If not, they may hurt the country’s economic interests.
By introducing the bill, he said, they want to ensure that those in various government understands the country’s diplomatic relations, adding that senior government officials and the ruling African National Congress understand what the national interest means.
Masango said the bill also intends to cover civil servants working abroad with various government departments, namely the Departments of International Relations and Cooperation, Home Affairs, Trade and Industry and Economic Cooperation, in addition to the soldiers in peace-keeping missions.
The committee will meet Tuesday with various parties to discuss the bill. Enditem