Monday, February 22, 2016

South Africa's ANC Accuses US Diplomats of Pursuing Regime Change
Ruling party’s secretary general wants Washington to clarify the activities of its diplomats after claiming the US has deployed agents to destabilise the nation

Associated Press
Sunday 21 February 2016 19.56 EST

South Africa’s ruling party has accused US diplomats of “irregular activities”, claiming that Washington is trying to foment regime change inside the country.

A spokesman for the African National Congress on Sunday called on the US government to clarify the activities of some its diplomats.

“There seems to be irregular activities coming from the US Embassy,” said Keith Khoza. The ANC party will communicate their concerns to Washington through diplomatic channels, he said.

Khoza referred to accusations made last week by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe that the US was planning regime change in South Africa, similar to the Arab Spring.

Speaking on Friday at a march for non-racialism in the capital Pretoria, Mantashe said “regime change elements” similar to those in Libya and Egypt had crept into South Africa, the African News Agency reported.

“Those meetings in the American Embassy are about nothing else other than mobilisation for regime change,” said Mantashe, according to the agency. “We’re aware of a program that takes young people to the United States for six weeks, brings them back and plants them everywhere.”

The US ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard has strongly denied the allegations.

Gaspard said the young people in question were part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, an initiative started by president Barack Obama in 2014.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work my US embassy colleagues do every day to partner with South Africans on health, education and job growth,” Gaspard tweeted. “And I will defend their honor and non-partisan integrity.”

The ambassador made light of the accusations - likening the suggestion that the US was sponsoring regime change across the globe to an Oprah Winfrey Show giveaway.

According to its website, the initiative’s aim is to support young African leaders, to help strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa.

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