Warning against Taiwan trip a last-minute affair, says Tshwane mayor Msimanga
Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga has hit back at ANC criticism of his trip to Taiwan‚ suggesting that he was given permission to travel to that country.
Msimanga told reporters on Wednesday that he was warned against travelling to Taiwan just a few minutes before boarding his flight.
He said "nobody ever communicated with myself" about any diplomatic problems that may arise from the trip until he was about to step on the plane to Taipei.
"To show that this was a manufactured outrage‚ only five minutes before I boarded the plane did I receive a call from the spokesperson of (the Department of International Relations and Cooperation). You can’t use a diplomatic passport without permission. You can’t go through the state protocol office ... without being allowed to be there‚" said Msimanga.
He challenged the department to release communication between Tshwane and itself‚ saying he would do the same to prove who was telling the truth.
Msimanga’s trip to Taiwan drew the ire of the ANC‚ which claimed it subverted SA’s foreign policy which endorsed the One China policy.
Msimanga said on Wednesday he was well aware of the sensitivities on the matter and steered clear of politics.
"The trip to Taipei was not political, and should not have been turned into the little political football that it is‚" he said.
"When I arrived in Taipei‚ I stayed away from politics because I knew it was a sensitive matter."
Msimanga said the furore after the trip had spooked the 120 would-be investors he had met in Taipei. They had asked if "it is safe to come here"‚ said Msimanga.