Responding to written questions during a sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, the Deputy President said this was done to ensure that South Africa still had a passage of communication with Israel.
The Deputy President said this ensured that the country still had a reserved seat on the negotiation round table, and that South Africa’s unhappiness with the violence in the region is registered.
“SA is not considering expelling diplomatic relations with Israel. We will remain engaged and we will voice our protest,” he said.
When the Middle East crisis reached its peak, President Jacob Zuma appointed special envoys – retired High Commissioner Zola Skweyiya and former Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad – and sent them to Israel and Palestine to meet with Hamas to convey SA’s unhappiness and condemnation over the onslaught on innocent civilians.