Malawi has said South African President Jacob Zuma’s recent controversial remarks which he made about Lilongwe would not damage relations between the two nations after a clarification by South African government.
Malawian foreign ministry spokeswoman Quent Kalichero said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that after Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume’s meeting with South African High Commissioner Cassandra Makone and deputy foreign minister Marius Fransman in Lilongwe , the matter has been resolved amicably.
Kalichero said Lilongwe “ invited High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to Malawi, “to get clarification and official version of the remarks.”
She said Malawi “ has obtained clarification” from South African diplomat “ that the remarks were reported out of context.”
Zuma was widely quoted in the media as saying that “this is Johannesburg. It’s not some national road in Malawi”.
He made the comment as he tried to convince people to accept plans to impose tolls on highways around Johannesburg.
Pretoria had said the remarks “are not a true reflection of the people of South Africa’s perception of the African continent and its people. President Zuma holds the people of Malawi in high regard,” according to Kalichero
“Malawi and South Africa enjoy cordial bilateral relations, since the people of our two countries are tied together by strong bonds of history and inter-marriages. It is the intention of the governments of Malawi and South Africa to continue to enhance and strengthen these bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of their two peoples and governments,” said Kalichero in a statement.
Zuma’s spokesman later retracted the statement and said he had been quoted out of context.