Zindzi Mandela not off the hook yet over Twitter rant

Zindzi Mandela's Twitter rant has been slammed by AfriForum./Supplied
Zindzi Mandela's Twitter rant has been slammed by AfriForum./Supplied

SA's ambassador to Denmark Zindzi Mandela is not off the hook yet following her rant on social media in a series of #OurLand tweets.

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's daughter had the country divided at the weekend after she tweeted about "white cowards and shivering land thieves".

Following her remarks, lobby groups and politicians called for her to be recalled from her diplomatic posting in Denmark.

Responding to the calls for Mandela's recall, the department of international relations headed by minister Naledi Pandor, said the ambassador had broken the social media policy and steps would be taken against her once the tweets have been validated.

"The challenge we have right now is that we are still trying to verify the authenticity of the tweets and a number of people within the department have been trying to get hold of the ambassador to verify if she tweeted these comments so that we can decide on a way forward," said department spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele.

However, on Saturday, Mandela said she was not accountable to anyone for her views after AfriForum said Pandor should recall and fire her for "racist and divisive" tweets.

"I am not accountable to any white man or woman for my personal views. No missus or baas here. Get over yourselves #OurLand," she tweeted.

Ngqengelele said the ambassador's utterances would be attended to because the issue of tweeting in her personal capacity did not apply for any government official.

"As a representative of the government as well as a person who works for [the department] of international relations, she is governed by the social media policy that the department has. The issue of [tweeting in her] personal capacity would not apply because all the representatives of government have to adhere to it," he said.

"The department has a clear social media policy that must reflect the important position that the ambassadors hold as representatives of the country," he added.

According to Government Communication Information Services social media policy issued in 2011 in subsection "Employees may not engage in online communication activities which could bring the government into disrepute."

It further states: "The code of conduct for public servants allows government employees to act in a private capacity to influence public opinion or promote issues of public interest."

Mandela had tweeted: "Dear Apartheid Apologists, your time is over. You will not rule again. We do not fear you. Finally #TheLandIsOurs."

She also addressed "trembling white cowards" and "thieving rapist descendants of Van Riebeck [sic]" and said she was wondering how the "world of shivering land thieves" was doing.

AfriForum deputy CEO Alana Bailey said he believed Mandela's tweets were contributing to a dangerous discourse of scape-goating.

"Her defence that she is entitled to a personal opinion, shows a complete lack of insight into her responsibility in her position as ambassador," said Bailey on Saturday.

He added Mandela's tweets displayed a rancorous attitude towards white South Africans in the country and in a very public arena, contributed to the division of local communities.

Efforts to get hold of Mandela drew a blank at the time of going to print.

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