‘US ambassador is a liar and hoaxer’

Controversial US ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety has been exposed as a hoaxer and a Picasso of lies for claiming that his attempts to meet the governing party fell on deaf ears.

Brigety this week caused a geopolitical and diplomatic stir when he claimed, without a shred of evidence, that South Africa armed Russia in its fight with Ukraine. This even as SA has always claimed non-alignment in the ongoing conflict. Brigety spewed his bile, which saw the rand plummeting to over R19 to US dollar for the first time in 22 years, at a media briefing on Thursday in Joburg.

He claimed that Luthuli House had repeatedly ignored his requests for a meeting, where he would have sought to understand the party’s position on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

But Sunday World can reveal that Brigety was just pulling the wool over the public’s eyes as he as recently as two weeks ago, met with ANC treasurer-general Gwen Ramokgopa, who was accompanied by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel. A senior ANC leader said the US ambassador in fact did not request any meeting, but the ANC on its own accord was planning to meet him as part of its mission to solidify relations with all countries.

“He met many people and even met with the treasurer general. The man is a liar and a hoaxer. Patel and Gwen went to meet with him just two weeks ago. “He met a senior official of the ANC and a minister, but then goes out and lies like that,” said the governing party leader.

“He is lying when he says we are ignoring him. He has not written anything to the SGO or anyone at Luthuli House asking for a meeting.”

The insider said the party “took exception” to what it viewed as the US’ attempt to meddle in the affairs of the governing party of a sovereign country. It was for this reason that the ANC Top Seven would discuss the matter at length at its meeting tomorrow before the same is processed by the National Working Committee after which the party will publicly come out to dismiss Brigety. A Presidency insider said on Friday that Brigety’s media briefing on Thursday was deliberately timed to coincide with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s question and answer session in parliament.

“It is also not a coincidence that it is the DA that raised the question even though the matter was not a follow-up to the list of questions Ramaphosa was scheduled to answer,” the deep-throat added. “Once the West has a plan hatched to overthrow you, they push hard.

“They want to overthrow this government. When Ramaphosa came in they thought he would not continue the proximity to the Brics countries,” said the official, referring to SA’s partnership with Brazil, Russia, India and China. “What could be the motivation for this nonsense? It is to collapse the economy and overthrow the government. This is why our energy fleet is constantly being sabotaged.

“Once the economy collapses, voters turn against the ANC, and elections are next year so the opposition comes to power.”

The insider said the West was increasingly anxious because SA under Ramaphosa was cementing its role as a partner in Brics. This makes South Africa “a natural superpower”.

Speaking to the media in Johannesburg on Friday, ANC deputy secretary-general Nomvula Mokonyane lambasted the US ambassador, who in his briefing cried foul about the party’s resolution at its national conference that the Ukraine war was instigated by the US in its quest to expand Nato’s reach.

“These are conference resolutions, you need a conference to amend resolutions. They can’t be amended by an ambassador of the United States of America,” said Mokonyane. The Luthuli House informant said the attitude at Pixley ka Seme Street was one that viewed the US posture as indicating panic from “a so-called superpower” that is on the backfoot geopolitically. Furthermore, the NEC member said, the Brics Summit in August hosted by South Africa and moves by China, including its decision to procure maize from SA and dump the US.

“The US is annoyed with the upcoming Brics Summit and the big decisions that may come out of that gathering and South Africa’s centrality in all this.

“Why are they getting offended by our resolutions? It means we are correct when we say it is a US-sponsored attack against Russia. It is not Ukraine, it is Nato on behalf of the US. And China this week announced it has opted to get its maize from us as they are dumping the US. That is a big setback that has hardened attitudes in Washington.”

This newspaper understands that the ruling party has elected to separate the process it will employ to tackle the US ambassador from that which is pursued by the government.

“Our government is already dealing with him and there is no better person to lead that charge than Naledi [Pandor].”

“There is also a letter from the president that has gone out to the US administration about this guy’s conduct,” said an ANC national official.

The ANC is scheduled to meet Brigety next month as part of its programme to meet all embassies represented in the country with Germany up next week. On Friday, Pandor summoned Brigety to explain himself.

Dirco said in a statement post the meeting that Brigety apologised during the meeting. But the man tweeted about the meeting saying: “I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with foreign minister Pandor this evening and correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks.”

Ramakgopa neither denied nor confirmed that she met with Brigety and instead referred us to ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri who was not available for comment at the time of going to print.

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