The African National Congress party frowns upon the meeting that brought both King Mohammed VI and Jacob Zuma. To justify his new policy, the South African president referred to the history and legacy of Nelson Mandela and the support he received from Morocco. Details.
Once in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma was interviewed by City Press on his meeting with King Mohammed VI, which took place on the 29th of November in Abidjan. The South African president has tried to reassure his party which fears the normalization of relations with the kingdom.
The African National Congress (ACN), the republic of South Africa’s governing social democratic political party, is determined to continue with its policy that supports the Front and has expressed on behalf of the Chairperson of the Subcommittee on International Relations that it refuses the new political approach adopted by Zuma.
A position that should not surprise Moroccans. The ANC criticized Morocco’s accession to the African Union at the 28th summit held on the 30th and 31st of January in Addis Ababa. Zuma wanted to reassure his party while explaining his new approach.
«Morocco is an African nation and we need to have relations with them. We never had problems with them anyway; they were the first to withdraw diplomatic relations».
Remind South Africans of Hassan II’s support for Mandela
To justify his position, Zuma explained that previously «there was no opportunity for dialogue, which is why we were meeting for the first time. One of the reasons we met with them is that Morocco is now back in and is part of the AU». However, by the end of the apartheid regime in the early 1990s, South Africa opened a diplomatic representation in Rabat. And the kingdom did the same. A historical fact that the President made sure not to forget.
On his meeting with the sovereign, November 29 in Abidjan, the president was evasive. «We met and talked». He admitted that the two countries are not on the same the same page when it comes to the Western Sahara conflict. And despite their differences, the Moroccan side, he explained is ready to establish diplomatic relations with South Africa.
Jacob Zuma revealed that King Mohammed VI firmly defended Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara. «He has his views on how they are all related. We want to understand and have clarity on where they all [the king and the people in Western Sahara] come from. We respect their views ; they know their history better. But we also have our views about human rights and the general rights of all nations, and we don’t have issues discussing them».
Moreover, in order to contextualize his recent meeting with the king, Jacob Zuma referred to the history of the ANC and Nelson Mandela. «They helped us a great deal. That is why, when Mandela was released from prison, he felt it was important for him to go to Morocco and say thank you to them, notwithstanding the fact that they had left the OAU», recalled the president.
It was in the summer of 2004 that the former president Thabo M’Beki, also from the ANC, recognized the «SADR». Since then, Pretoria has been engaged in supporting the Polisario in Africa and in the international scene. One of its recent favors to the Front is the fact that Brahim Ghali was able to attend the recent AU-EU summit.