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SOUTH AFRICAN RULING PARTY ACCUSES U.S. OF PLOTTING COUP

February 23, 2016

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South Africa’s ruling party has reiterated its concerns that U.S. diplomats in the country are attempting to stir up regime change.

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe answers questions at a press briefing in Johannesburg, June 8, 2014. Mantashe has said the party is suspicious of "irregular activities" at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria. MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe answers questions at a press briefing in Johannesburg, June 8, 2014. Mantashe has said the party is suspicious of “irregular activities” at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria.
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe first raised the issue at an anti-racism march in the capital Pretoria on Friday. Addressing thousands of supporters ofPresident Jacob Zuma’s party, Mantashe said that the party was aware of regular meetings of young people at the U.S. embassy in Pretoria. “Those meetings in the American embassy are about nothing else other than mobilization for regime change,” said Mantashe.

Mantashe also made mention of a six-week program run by the U.S. embassy, which takes young people to the U.S. before they are returned to South Africa. The program in question is the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a flagship program launched by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 to provide leadership training to 1,000 young people from Sub-Saharan Africa.

“There seems to be irregular activities coming from the U.S. embassy,” said ANC spokesman Keith Khoza, AP reported on Monday, adding that the ruling party would raise its concerns with Washington through diplomatic channels.

Mantashe’s comments sparked a sarcastic reply on Twitter from U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard. The ambassador claimed that he had told Mantashe about the leadership program:

Ambassador Gaspard ‎@patrickgaspard

Well, he should be “aware” of this program since I personally invited him to recommend young ANC leaders for it…https://twitter.com/cathymohlahlana/status/700643404296814592 

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