SA, Zambia mend fences after Scott's 'bluster'

LUSAKA: The worst appears to be over in the diplomatic row that threatened to strain relations between Zambia and South Africa.

The tiff was triggered by the unprovoked and unflattering remarks of the Zambian Vice President Guy Scott about South Africa. He was reported in the May 1 edition of the UK Guardian as saying that he hated South Africa; it was "backward and has been the cause of so much trouble" in this part of the world. "The South Africans are very backward in terms of historical development. I hate South Africans. That's not a fair thing to say because I like a lot of South Africans but 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. "I have a suspicion the blacks model themselves on the whites now that they're in power. 'Don't you know who we are, man?'" He scoffed at the inclusion of South Africa in the Brics grouping of emerging economies. "They think in Brics it actually stands for South Africa whereas it stands for Africa. Nobody would want to go in for a partnership with Brazil, China, India and South Africa for Christ's sake. "I dislike South Africa for the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States, I think. It's just too big and too unsubtle." He compared the South African President Jacob Zuma to the last apartheid leader, FW De Klerk. "He is 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 his advisers." Of  Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, he is reported as having said:  "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 Anglo-phone. 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." The South African Foreign Ministry, through spokesperson Clayson Monyela, issued a statement saying South Africa would seek clarification about the remarks from the Zambian mission in Pretoria. 

"South Africa has taken note of the negative remarks on South Africa attributed to Guy Scott, the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia. In view of this development, the South African government has decided to take the matter up through the appropriate diplomatic channels. Accordingly, we shall be summoning the High Commissioner of Zambia to South Africa to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to seek an explanation behind the remarks and what it means in the context of our bilateral relations."

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