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SA mission in Israel in New Year spirit

  • 2a-Ambassador Sisa Ngombane
UPDATED: "Dirco will issue a statement." on the passing of Shimon Perez on Wednesay: So said SA's Ambassador to Israel. Read the interview with JR Online that Sisa Ngombane, one of South Africa’s most senior and experienced career diplomats whose card reads: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary* and who has always been streetwise in the ways of the Middle East - having overseen the region for DIRCO for many years from Pretoria, before deciding to try and make a difference in Israel three years ago.
by ANT KATZ | Sep 28, 2016

Ngombane, who is in tune with all the Jewish holidays, told Jewish Report on Tuesday that “as part of the Rosh Hashanah [programme] the diplomatic corps paid good wishes to President [Reuven] Rivlin and wished a speedy recovery to former President [Shimon] Peres.” (Peres died early the next morning morning after suffering a massive stroke two weeks ago.)

Ambassador Ngombane, who, with his family suffered through the thousands of Hamas rockets that precipitated the 2014 Israeli incusion into Gaza, said the embassy had not previously sent “any message… to the family of former President Peres. The embassy is monitoring the events and has given the family space to deal with this situation,” said the ambassador.

South Africa's man in Israel took the helm three years ago - around the same time Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk was posted to Pretoria.

And relations, trade and diplomatic interaction between the two countries have been booming ever since.

When the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) sought to replace the South African ambassador to Israel after the retirement of Ambassador Ismail Coovadia in December 2012, it could not have selected a more heavy-weight candidate.

Sisa Ngombane was savvy and experienced. He was, as deputy director general for Asia and the Middle East at Dirco, the boss of Coovadia’s boss, who managed the department’s Levant Desk.

Struggle-veteran Ngombane, 59, and Lenk, have upped the ante on relations between the two countries.

One of South Africa’s most senior and experience career diplomats, Sisa Ngonyama, has always been wily in the ways of the middle east. This includes doing the right things at the right times. Now, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary* Sisa Ngombane has done it again – this time for Rosh Hashanah.

Ngombane told Jewish Report Tuesday that “as part of the Rosh Hashanah [programme] the diplomatic corps paid good wishes to president Rivlin and wished a speedy recovery to former president Peres.”

Ambassador Ngombane said the embassy had not previously sent “any message … to the family former president Peres. The embassy is monitoring the events and has given the family space to deal with this situation,” said the ambassador.

SA's man in Israel took the helm three years ago – around the same time Israeli ambassador Arthur Lenk was posted to Pretoria.

And relations, trade and diplomatic interaction have been booming ever since.

When the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) sought to replace their Israeli ambassador after the retirement of ambassador Coovadia in December 2012, they could not have selected a more heavy-weight candidate. Sisa Ngombane was savvy and experienced. He was, as Deputy Director General for Asia and the Middle East at Dirco, the boss of Coovadia’s boss, who managed the department’s Levant Desk.

Struggle-veteran Ngombane, 59, and Lenk, have upped the ante on relations between the two countries.

* Plenipotentiary refers to a senior diplomatic envoy invested with full and absolute power of authority. Ambassador Ngombane explains that, in practice, if there are legal matters that require Presidential signature, President Zuma can delegate a power of attorney for a plenipotentiary to sign a specific document on his behalf.  



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