Hamas officials visit South Africa on Nelson Mandela death anniversary

Hamas officials visit South Africa on Nelson Mandela death anniversary
Hamas officials joined members of Nelson Mandela's family in laying wreaths on his statue in South Africa on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.
2 min read
07 December, 2023
The wreath laying at the statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria [Getty]

Hamas officials travelled to South Africa to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Nelson Mandela's death on Tuesday, according to local media reports.

Former Hamas government minister Basem Naim and Hamas's representative in Iran Khaled Qaddoumi were part of the delegation which joined Mandela's grandson, Mandla Mandela, and others at the ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the French-language daily Le Monde reported.

In the days leading up to the event, the Hamas officials had participated in a conference on Israel's war on Gaza in Johannesburg, which was organised, among others, by Mandela.

The first black South African president, Mandela died on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95. South Africa's support for the Palestinian cause is one of the anti-apartheid icon's legacies after he compared the plight of black South Africans under the apartheid regime to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

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Mandela's family laid a wreath on his statue in front of the government headquarters in the capital Pretoria. There were no official ceremonies or public address by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africa has strongly criticised Israel over its latest war on the besieged Gaza Strip, which has killed at least 17,000 Palestinians, including more than 7,000 children.

The country's ruling African National Congress party (ANC), which Nelson Mandela once led, voted in favour of a motion last month to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa and cut diplomatic ties over the war in Gaza.

The motion, which passed with a large majority, called for ties to be cut until a permanent ceasefire is reached.