Cape Town – ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has defended International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor against critics, asserting that she has the full support of the ruling party.
Pandor faced backlash for a phone call with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh amid the Gaza conflict.
Mbalula, speaking at a pro-Palestine march, reiterated the ANC’s backing for Pandor.
“Our party supports Naledi Pandor and says hands off Naledi Pandor. A two-state solution is our position and that is what we are about as the ANC”.
— ANC SECRETARY GENERAL | fikile Mbalula (@MbalulaFikile) November 11, 2023
Pandor recently had a phone call with the Hamas leader to discuss humanitarian aid for Palestinians, but denounced allegations of supporting the militants’ attack on Israel.
Naledi Pandor said she received a request to call Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to discuss humanitarian support.
“Minister Pandor and the Hamas leader discussed how to get the necessary humanitarian aid to Gaza and other parts of the Palestinian Territories,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement.
The ministry condemned allegations in local media of government support for the brutal assault which left more than 1,400 dead, mainly civilians, in Israel.
Israel declared war on Hamas after the Islamist group’s fighters broke through the heavily fortified Gaza border on October 7, and also took at least 199 people hostage.