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SA minister called Mugabe “the crazy old man”

South Africa Minister for International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed great frustration with President Robert Mugabe saying that “we cannot do quiet diplomacy forever” and called him “the crazy old man”.

She told United States embassy officials that everyone must support Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but she expressed disappointment that he withdrew from the government without consulting South Africa and other international partners.

She said there were rumours that he was instructed to do this by a senior United States government official.

United States ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips said that to his knowledge this was not the case.

Tsvangirai “walked” out without any consultation and seemingly without a plan.

Gips also felt that though the International Relations minister made strong statements on Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, her department did not have the lead within the South African government on the Zimbabwe agenda.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09PRETORIA2245, AMBASSADOR’S COURTESY CALL ON FOREIGN MINISTER

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09PRETORIA2245

2009-11-03 15:52

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO7592

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUEHSA #2245/01 3071552

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 031552Z NOV 09

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0086

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0620

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0330

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 002245

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/01/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON ASEC KHIV SF ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S COURTESY CALL ON FOREIGN MINISTER

MASHABANE

 

REF: PRETORIA 2167

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR DONALD GIPS FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador’s first official call with

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite

Nkoana-Mashabane was warm and frank. Mashabane thanked the

USG for its partnership and support through PEPFAR and

acknowledged past mistakes in HIV/AIDS policies. The

Ambassador thanked the SAG for support on security and the

Minister promised to continue the current support. They

agreed to work together on establishing a bilateral mechanism

and cooperating on augmenting food security and combating

violence against women. Mashabane made strong statements on

distancing the SAG from Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe

and supporting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Although

Mashabane was very positive about our bilateral agenda, the

SAG’s capacity to execute remains a question. End Summary.

 

————————-

Positive Bilateral Agenda

————————-

 

2. (C) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was warm and receptive in the

Ambassador’s first official meeting with the South African

Government on November 2. She said her government was

excited about working with the Obama Administration,

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Ambassador,

expecting that bilateral relations would continue to improve.

Mashabane expressed the hope that we could develop a

bilateral mechanism early in 2010, building on her meeting

with the Secretary in Pretoria in August. The Ambassador

said we looked forward to hearing the SAG’s ideas for the

bilateral mechanism and setting a date for the Annual

Bilateral Forum early in 2010. Mashabane hoped that

President Obama could make a state visit to South Africa

linked to attending the FIFA World Cup in June-July 2010.

She envisioned President Zuma reciprocating with a state

visit to the U.S. early in 2011. Mashabane also noted the

positive role of the U.S. in the G-8 and the G-20,

emphasizing that developing countries were excited about

President Obama’s leadership.

 

3. (C) Mashabane noted that the Ambassador’s confirmation

speech showed that he and the USG shared South Africa’s five

key priorities set forth at the ANC Conference at Polokwane

in December 2007: employment, education, health, fighting

crime, and rural development. She and the Ambassador agreed

that there was a long agenda of shared objectives and that

they should identify clear and achievable goals. The

Ambassador said the U.S. would like to do more to support

education, and observed that USAID had important initiatives

in this area. He also said he would like the U.S. and South

Africa to partner for various trilateral programs in Africa.

She supported this approach, noting South Africa’s interest

in “prospering” its neighbors. Mashabane highlighted AGOA as

a positive force for stability in Africa. The Ambassador

noted that US UN Ambassador Susan Rice would like to host the

Minister for an event when she next visits New York. He

thanked the SAG for its recent Human Rights Council vote in

favor of the U.S.-Egypt-sponsored Freedom of Expression

Resolution.

 

4. (C) Mashabane said she was passionate about integration

and de-racialization as tools to eradicate the legacies of

apartheid in both rural and urban townships. She said

Qapartheid in both rural and urban townships. She said

advancing rural development was complicated by an excessive

number of municipalities at 284. Mashabane encouraged the

Ambassador to make contact with the Premier of Gauteng

Province, Nomvula Mokonyane, a close childhood friend, now

known as “Mama Action”. She said that her staff would share

a new proposal for the South Africa Development Agency, newly

brought under her Department of International Relations and

Cooperation (DIRCO). The Minister joked that she needed to

be nice to Minister of Finance Gordhan and Minister of

National Planning Manuel, suggesting that they controlled the

economic and finance levers in the new government. The

Ambassador emphasized that the USG wants to support and

contribute in all the priority areas, like education, rural

development, and health. He noted his comment in his Senate

confirmation statement that our job is to help South Africa

succeed, observing our shared diversity and the special

challenge of overcoming the legacy of apartheid. Mashabane

said it was a propitious moment with a new President (Zuma)

 

PRETORIA 00002245 002 OF 003

 

 

who listens to and supports South Africans.

 

——————————————–

Health and HIV/AIDS – Extolling Cooperation,

Noting Past Mistakes

——————————————–

 

5. (C) The Minister thanked the USG for its sustained

support as a key partner in fighting HIV/AIDS under the

PEPFAR program in South Africa, hoping for continued support.

She admitted that there had been mistakes in past policy,

but the SAG was now committed to catching up. Mashabane

stated that President Zuma would make a strong statement on

World AIDS Day on December 1, emphasizing that South Africa

would now lead from the front, not from behind. The

Ambassador noted that the USG had agreed to make a one-time

contribution of $120 million over two years to help with the

ARV stock-out gap, subject to some key conditions. Mashabane

encouraged the Ambassador to communicate with Minister of

Health Motsaeledi and Minister of Finance Gordhan on these

issues. The Ambassador noted the need to make plans for the

next five years, also encouraging South Africa to share its

experience and skills with the rest of Africa. Mashabane

said the SAG would like to be able to make greater use of

generic ARVs and other drugs to save costs.

 

——————————————— –

Food Security and Agriculture – Women’s Issues

——————————————— –

 

6. (C) Mashabane identified food security and agriculture as

key areas for cooperation. She said we would shortly receive

a written response on our food security initiative. The

Minister spoke highly of the work and vision of the

passionate and dynamic Agriculture Minister, Tina

Joemat-Petterson. She encouraged the Ambassador to visit one

of the Minister’s rural pilot projects.

 

7. (C) The Ambassador raised our desire to cooperate on

women’s issues and to target specifically violence against

women, noting its linkages to HIV/AIDS. The Minister agreed

with the importance of this issue. She said South Africa has

good laws and regulations, but many women – particularly in

rural areas – still live in the past in terms of their

culture and communities. Mashabane cited the Progressive

Women’s Movement of South Africa as an effective

organization, chaired by Baleka Mbete, who is also the

National Chair of the ANC. She cited the value of workshops

aimed at preventing violence before incidents. The

Ambassador mentioned visiting a U.S.-funded Tutuzela Care

Center that supports rape counseling and law enforcement.

Mashabane said such centers had achieved a significant

increase in conviction rates from 20 to 80 percent. She said

that she was the outgoing Chair of the Progressive Women’s

Movement of SA in Limpopo and cited a recent workshop in that

Province. The Ambassador said that the USG would like to

follow up on participating in such workshops.

 

——–

Security

——–

 

8. (C) The Ambassador thanked the Minister for the SAG’s

security support to the U.S. Mission since the mid-September

threat and asked that it remain in place (also requested by

separate diplomatic note.) She said she supported this

request. Mashabane said South Africa would win its battle

against crime, asserting that it would never have problems as

great as Brazil’s. The Ambassador offered technical support

Qgreat as Brazil’s. The Ambassador offered technical support

and training for law enforcement agencies.

 

——–

Zimbabwe

——–

 

9. (C) The Minister expressed great frustration with

President Mugabe, saying that “we cannot do quiet diplomacy

forever” and calling him “the crazy old man”. She said we

must all support Prime Minister Tsvangirai, but she expressed

disappointment that he withdrew from the government without

consulting South Africa and other international partners.

She said there were rumors that he was instructed to do this

by a senior USG official. The Ambassador said that to his

knowledge this was not the case, noting that Tsvangirai

“walked” without any consultation and seemingly without a

 

PRETORIA 00002245 003 OF 003

 

 

plan. Mashabane said the current SADC Chair President Joseph

Kabila was left cooling his heels in South Africa over the

weekend when Mugabe at first refused to receive him until

late Sunday. (She noted that she was stuck in Pretoria

waiting to fulfill her protocol role of seeing him off at the

airport, so was not able to take her children home to Limpopo

Province over the weekend.) Mashabane said the SAG view was

that Mugabe is getting desperate and is trying to push the

country into elections. On the other hand, she said

Tsvangirai wasn’t realistic in calling for removal of all the

security chiefs. She advocated seeking to change the

electoral law to facilitate proper counting, while

pragmatically leaving the security chiefs in place.

Mashabane broached consideration for amnesty scenarios for

the security chiefs that might induce them not to block a

political transition.

 

10. (C) Mashabane promised to follow-up with the Ambassador

on next steps following discussions she would have very soon

with President Zuma and the Foreign Minister of Mozambique.

She advocated helping Tsvangirai prepare for elections if

they happen and exposing the dirty actions of the security

chiefs. The Minister pointed out the danger to her northern

province of Limpopo and the rest of South Africa with

potential for more cholera outbreaks and significant refugees

if the situation lingers or worsens.

 

11. (C) Mashabane raised concerns about Palestine, Israel,

and the Goldstone Report. The Ambassador said the U.S. was

committed to a two-state solution. He said President Obama

was frustrated with Israel and noted that private messages

are much stronger than the public ones. The Ambassador said

Secretary Clinton would be aggressive in calling for greater

dialogue and results. Mashabane recommended that the

Ambassador meet with South African Jewish Deputies to hear

their perspectives. The Ambassador welcomed the suggestion

and said he was also interested in outreach to the Muslim

community in South Africa.

 

12. (C) COMMENT: The Ambassador’s first official meeting

with the South African Foreign Minister was particularly

friendly and open, emblematic of the positive trend in our

bilateral relationship. The Foreign Minister indicated a

desire to set up a dinner to welcome the Ambassador, as long

as we did not tell the other Ambassadors. The Ambassador met

her last August (prior to presenting his credentials) while

accompanying Secretary Clinton on her visit to South Africa,

when the two Ministers established a warm rapport. There is

clearly enthusiasm within the SAG for developing a bilateral

mechanism. We should bear in mind, however that the South

African Government faces shortfalls in capacity which limit

its ability to staff cooperative mechanisms and to implement

programs, so we will have to carefully choose our

initiatives. The Foreign Minister made strong statements on

Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, but our sense is that her

department does not have the lead within the SAG on the

Zimbabwe agenda.

GIPS

(68 VIEWS)

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