Nomindia Mphikito, South Africa’s ambassador to the United States, is set to step down in mid-August, more than a year before her term is due to end.
On Monday, embassy staff announced the departure of Mfkito, who is believed to be seriously ill.
were largely absent during period of great stress In relations with the United States over South Africa’s perceived alliance with Russia in the Ukraine War.
It came to a head in May when the US ambassador to South Sudan, Robin Brigetti, South Africa was accused of exporting weapons to Russia On the sanctioned Russian cargo ship Ms. R.
Although both sides have since sought damage limitation, relations have hit a low point amid fears that South Africa could lose its duty-free access to the US market via the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA.
Decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin absence A summit of BRICS heads of state in South Africa in person next month, after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court, removed one of the grievances of the United States.
However, the United States still insists that there be accountability for Ms. R. A three-person panel headed by retired judge Phineas Mugabello conducted an investigation behind closed doors into what happened.
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South Africa sent a delegation to Washington, DC two weeks agoled by Minister of Commerce and Industry Ibrahim Patel and Minister of Finance Enoch Godungwana, who were faced with questions about Ms. R that they were unable to answer.
No successor has been announced for the main US ambassador post, but the pressure has been going on for months.
Two deputy general manager of Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Maud Dulmeau W Clayson Monyella is said to be on their way to Washington, D.C.
The downturn in relations between South Africa and the United States has been going on for more than a decade and did not begin during Mphikito’s tenure. There are still a number of outstanding power button issues.
For example, the huge tariffs that were imposed on imported steel and aluminum during the presidency of Donald Trump have been lifted for all affected countries except South Africa.
There is a general feeling in Washington that the appointment of a new ambassador provides an opportunity for reassessment and a fresh attempt to repair the relationship with the United States, which is SA’s second largest trading partner. DM