Malawi to punish diplomats expelled from South Africa

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera and South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera (left) and South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa.

Photo credit: File | AFP

The Malawian diplomats who were declared persona non grata in South Africa will be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of their home country's civil service laws, the government said on Monday.

Six diplomats from Malawi's High Commission in Pretoria and two in from the Consulate in Johannesburg were expelled after being found guilty of re-selling duty-free alcohol. It is alleged that they had been importing alcohol, which they sold to bars and restaurants without paying duty.  

According to Malawi’s Foreign Affairs minister Eisenhower Mkaka, the actions of the envoys has not affected the countries' bilateral relations.

Mr Mkaka has since assured that the eight diplomats will return to Malawi within three working days, and that temporary staff have already been identified to keep ties intact. 

On Sunday, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said in a special address that he has relayed a message to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, where he condemned the “despicable behaviour” of the diplomats.

“I assured the president of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, that the conduct of these individuals does not represent the values of my administration and the Malawian people, nor does it reflect the cordial and warm bilateral relations between our two countries,” he said.