South Africa has demanded an explanation from Zambia on remarks its vice-president Guy Scott reportedly made about President Jacob Zuma and others.
“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,” international relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said on Thursday.
“South Africa has taken note of the negative remarks about South Africa… In view of this development, the SA government has decided to take the matter up through the appropriate diplomatic channels.”
The report that irked South African officials was written by The Guardian’s correspondent in Lusaka. It initially appeared on the publication’s UK website on Wednesday. Scott told the newspaper Zuma was like former apartheid leader FW de Klerk, and that South Africans were “backward”.
Said Scott: “He’s (Zuma) very like De Klerk. He tells us: ‘you just leave Zimbabwe 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 his advisers.”
Scott said it appeared President Robert Mugabe wants to leave power after 33 years at the helm.
“I think if you asked him he’d say it was enough. That’s what he said to us a few months ago. I said the way forward in African democracy is the way we do it in Zambia. He said, ‘I absolutely agree, I wish it would happen to me.’”
Asked if that meant losing an election, Scott replied: “Yes, and a smooth handover. I think he meant it, or he was toying with the idea of meaning it. He wanted to hear how it sounded, maybe. Or something. ”He’s a funny chap. He seems to doze off and then he suddenly laughs at a joke while in the middle of dozing.
“And very articulate, without a note, without a scrap of anything. He’s an Anglophone. He loves to give lectures on the English language, English weighing systems, English this or that. He was a teacher and so he taught himself all that.”
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,” Scott told the newspaper.
“I have a suspicion the blacks model themselves on the whites now that they’re in power.”
He said he disliked South Africa because it was too big and “unsubtle”. Sapa
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