Rabat – Ace Magashule, secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling party African National Congress (ANC) slammed members of his party for “disobeying his instructions” to reject Morocco’s candidacy to chair the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG).
Last week in Durban, South Africa, the UCLG-World elected Morocco’s Mohamed Boudra, mayor of the city of Al Hoceima and chairman of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Municipal Council, as its chairman for the 2019-2022 term.
Boudra’s election took place at the end of the 6th Congress of UCLG and World Summit of Local and Regional leaders in South Africa on November 11-15.
In response, the secretary-general of the South African party criticized his fellow ANC members in the strongest terms.
Magashule accused politicians who attended the UCLG congress of “insubordination” after they disobeyed his instructions to boycott the Moroccan candidate.
“The conduct of the ANC as an organization, and those of our members who are delegated to represent us at forums and meetings, must always be beyond reproach, principled and informed by our formal policy positions. This must be true, both nationally and internationally,” he said.
South Africa is known for its steadfast position in the Western Sahara conflict. Like its ANC party,South Africa supports the Polisario Front’s independence claims, while Morocco considers its sovereignty over the region as uncompromisable.
Relations between Pretoria and Rabat have fluctuated since 2004. Morocco recalled its ambassador to South Africa due to Pretoria’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
In October of this year, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa received Morocco’s new ambassador in Pretoria, Youssef Amrani, who presented his credentials to take office.
Amrani is the first Moroccan ambassador to South Africa in 15 years.
The new ambassador shared with Morocco World News his ambition to work to instill Morocco’s “desire to reinforce bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.”
With South Africa’s long standing relationship with the Polisario Front, it remains to be seen whether Amrani will be successful in convincing South Africa to shift its position on the conflict.