UN says no to request to release Mamabolo as SA xenophobia envoy

The office of the UN Secretary General has rejected a request from the South African Government to briefly release the Joint AU-UN Envoy to Sudan’s Darfur region from his duties so that he can assist with addressing African concerns about xenophobia.

South Africa asked the UN to briefly release Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo to serve as a Special Envoy tasked with briefing African countries on steps taken to combat acts of Xenophobia in the country.

A letter seen by SABC NEWS from the Executive Office of the Secretary General says a request from the government, received on September 17th for a leave of absence for Mamabolo to allow him to undertake a national assignment, could not be granted.

The letter to the South African Permanent Mission to the UN says the request was turned down pursuant to the advice of the UN Ethics Office that pointed to the UN Charter and UN Regulations that staff members shall not seek or receive instruction from any government or from any other authority external to the UN and shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the UN.

The Presidency has not responded to requests for clarification.

Embassador Kingsley Mamabolo studied Journalism at the Division of Mass Communication at Harare Polytechnic when he was an ANC exile in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. After South Africa’s majority rule  government under President Nelson Mandela he returned  to Harare as his country’s ambassador.