The Zambian Vice President was quoted as making questionable statements about Jacob Zuma and South Africa.
South Africa International Relation and Cooperation Department said it would summon the Zambia High Commission to explain a remark about President Jacob Zuma by its Vice-President, Guy Scott.
Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson of Department of International Relation, told newsmen on Friday in Pretoria that South Africa had demanded an explanation from Zambia on remarks made about South Africa.
“We shall be summoning the high commissioner of Zambia to seek an explanation behind the remarks and what it means in the context of our bilateral relations.
“South Africa has taken note of the negative remarks about South Africa. In view of this development, the South African government has decided to take the matter up through the appropriate diplomatic channels,’’ Mr. Monyela said.
Zambia’s Vice-President was reported to have said in a British publication that Zuma was like former South African apartheid leader, FW de Klerk.
Mr. Scott was reported in the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. to have said that South Africans “are backward’’.
“He is (Zuma) very much like De Klerk. He tells us: you just leave Zimbabweans to me.
“Excuse me, who the hell liberated you anyway, was it not us? I mean, I quite like him, he seems a rather genial character but I pity him and his advisers,’’ Mr. Scott was quoted as saying.
The newspaper further reported that Mr. Scott went on to speak about South Africans and black citizens.
“The South Africans are very backward in terms of historical development.
“I hate South Africans, they really think they’re the bees’ knees and actually they’ve been the cause of so much trouble in this part of the world.
“I have a suspicion that the blacks model themselves after the whites now that they’re in power,’’ Scott told the newspaper.
Mr. Monyela said that South Africa had decided to take the matter up through diplomatic channels.
“We have decided to take this matter up through diplomatic channels. We have summoned the high commissioner of Zambia to the Department of International Relations to come and explain to us what is behind these comments. If these comments are true, what do they mean in the context of bilateral relations?
“We’ve got strong cordial, fraternal relations with the country of Zambia dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid. So, we are good friends, we are neighbours, we are partners,” Mr. Monyela said.
But Mr. Scott’s comments appears to be a reflection of the reality that many of South Africa’s neighbours feel that they live in the shadow of its dominant economy, which makes up about two third of the GDP for southern Africa.
South Africa, seeking a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, has been throwing its weight around the continent with three overseas military deployments and a successful campaign to place a South African as the leader of the AU.
Zambia and South Africa, two of southern Africa’s stronger democracies have been working to make sure elections planned this year in Zimbabwe are held peacefully after a disputed 2008 poll caused a flood of refugees.
Zambia’s High Commission in Pretoria said in a statement that the two countries “enjoy very warm relations and are long standing partners in the liberation struggles.’’
But in the statement, the Zambia High Commission did not mention the summoning of its envoy.
Mr. Scott was elected as the vice president to Michael Sata in the presidential election in 2011.
The South Africa ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) used Zambia as their main overseas base from the 1970s when it was a liberation movement trying to oust the white-minority government.
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