SA hits back at Trump over Mandela

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Johannesburg - South Africa has condemned disparaging remarks attributed to Mr Donald Trump in which the US president reportedly demeans anti-apartheid Icon Nelson Mandela.

In a soon-to-be published book, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen alleges that Mr Trump said Mr Mandela - South Africa’s first democratically elected president - was “no leader”.

In the upcoming book, Cohen also alleges that President Trump also attacked all countries run by black people.

“Tell me one country run by a black person that isn't a sh*thole. They are all complete toilets."

In 2018, Mr Trump was separately quoted using the same disparaging remarks to describe black-run countries.

Mr Trump’s remarks angered South Africans across the divide, with the ruling African National Congress leading the charge.

“All freedom-loving people of the world are appalled by these insults which come from a person who, himself, is not a model of competent leadership. The icon of our struggle, President Nelson Mandela, stands in contrast to Trump. A unifying and principled leader, President Mandela reached out to the world and sought to bring peace and a just society,” said the party. 

Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, led the ANC from 1991 to 1997.

“The ANC is confident that President Mandela would have reached out to Donald Trump to teach him to understand the complex challenges of the developing world and shown him the wisdom to lift the blockade on Cuba.

“He would have invited him to visit Gaza to appreciate the pain of the Palestinian people and advised him to work with the international community to help find a lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East,” added the ANC.

The Mandela Foundation said Mr Trump had no locus standito comment on Mr Mandela.

“We do not believe that leaders who conduct themselves in the way Mr Trump does are in a position to offer authoritative commentary on Mandela’s life and work.”

Mandela’s grandson Mr Ndaba Mandela described Mr Trump as a failed leader.

He added: “When you attack, Nelson Mandela, for me, that says that you clearly do not see or value the very same principles and values that the people that we see as progressive in this world, who are trying to create a much more united world - that you are not really such a person who has those same values.

“You know, we see him as a person who has actually created disparity and even division, not only in America, but influenced the cohesion of the global community.”

The USA’s chief diplomat in South Africa, Ambassador Lana Marks issued a statement saying President Trump “has only ever spoken positively about the country”.

A Trump spokesperson, Kayleigh McEnany, described the author of the book as "a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress".

"He has lost all credibility, and it's unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies."

Mr Mandela is a Nobel Peace laureate whose birthday is upheld by the United Nations as a commemoration for the fight against racism.

After spending 27 years in jail for opposing apartheid, he became South Africa’s first popularly elected leader in 1994.

He died in 2013 at age 95.

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