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Africa: Political Appointees Trump Career Diplomats in New Postings

Career diplomats are disgruntled that they continue to be overlooked in favour of political appointments for plum ambassadorships. According to sources, these include the appointments of two securocrats of the past, Billy Masetlha and Siphiwe Nyanda, to hot spots in Africa – Tanzania and Mozambique respectively.

Two controversial securocrats from the past are in line to be appointed as ambassadors to key African countries over the next few months. Billy Masetlha, who was fired as intelligence chief in 2006 by then-president Thabo Mbeki for spying on behalf of Jacob Zuma, is headed for Tanzania as high commissioner, sources say.

Former SANDF chief Siphiwe Nyanda, who was fired by then-president Zuma as communications minister in 2010, supposedly because he would not kowtow to the Guptas, has been nominated as South Africa’s new high commissioner to Mozambique.

The two are among a predominance of political appointees included in the latest batch of ambassadors who have been nominated for foreign postings. Career diplomats are dismayed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has again favoured such political figures over professional career diplomats in this new round of appointments.

Nyanda and Masetlha are both destined for sensitive and challenging posts. In Mozambique’s northernmost province, Cabo Delgado, an…

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