South Africa expels Lesotho, Malawi diplomats

South African flag
  • Malawi expresses regret over the incident, to take appropriate action

  • Diplomats from Lesotho face similar wrath

The South African government has expelled diplomats at Malawi missions in Pretoria and Johannesburg after being declared Persona Non Grata (unwelcome).

A statement dated 11th June from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notifies the public that the Diplomats serving at its High Commission in Pretoria and the Consulate in Johannesburg have abused their privileges according to the South African government.

“The diplomats and their families have been given three working days to depart the Republic of South Africa. The South African Government has taken this action in consonant with the provisions of the Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

“The Government of Malawi wishes to inform the public that the Malawi Government has since conveyed its regret to the Republic of South Africa on the conduct of the concerned diplomats. The Government of Malawi will take appropriate actions on the Diplomats upon their return,” read the statement

It further assured that appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure continuity of operations of the Mission in Pretoria.

President Chakwera and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa captured in this file photo last year 

The development also coincides with action taken by the Lesotho government following the declaration of Persona Non Grata by the Ramaphosa government on its envoys through a statement dated 10th June 2021.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations has learnt with disappointment and embarrassment that several Basotho diplomats serving in the Republic of South Africa, at Lesotho High Commission in Pretoria and Lesotho Consulate in Johannesburg, have been declared Persona Non Grata by the Government of the Republic of South Africa. The diplomats and their families have been given 72 hours to depart South Africa and relinquish their diplomatic status.

“The South African Government took this action under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, due to the said diplomats failing to comply with the laws of the Republic of South Africa, specifically the illicit trade in duty-free alcohol” read the Lesotho government statement

The Union buildings in South Africa

The Kingdom of Lesotho Government distanced itself and condemned its representative’s actions in the strongest terms and warned of disciplinary action upon arrival in their country.

According to news24, the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) uncovered a tax- dodging racket in which foreign ambassadors bought large volumes of alcohol at duty free retailers and sold it locally, cheating the tax collector an estimated R100 million in taxes every month.

It revealed two investigations by SARS; one in 2019 and the other in 2020, singled out diplomats from Rwanda, Lesotho, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi and Burundi for being involved in the scam.