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Saluting a true Ambassador


Ambassador Swanepoel (r) pictured with the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Francisco-Javier Lozano at the farewell function.

This is a very special but bitter-sweet occasion where we have to say goodbye to a professional career diplomat, a sincere person and a dear colleague.  Flavia Weedn once said: “Some folks come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the very same”.  Ambassador Pieter Swanepoel can be categorized as such.  

He retires at the end of July 2013.   Once during a recent interview he was asked about his successes as a Diplomat and his reply simply included three things:  Firstly to "always think outside the box”, secondly to “adjust to change” and thirdly to “establish trustworthiness”.   It is with great pride that we can encourage young and aspiring career diplomats to follow in his footsteps because his actions speak louder than all our descriptive words.      

His name is well known in the passages of DIRCO as he has been part of this Department since 1970.  In a nutshell his career followed these channels:  During the 1970s he served in the SA Embassies in Canberra, the United Kingdom and in Washington D.C.   In the 1980s he became the Director for Communications Planning and later he headed the Directorate Ministerial Media Liaison.  

Ambassador Swanepoel’s first appointment as Head of Mission was in 1991 in the SA Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal.  Upon his completion of duty, he was decorated with the Grand Cross of the “Order of Henry the Navigator”.    Subsequently in 1998 he was appointed as Ambassador to Mexico City in Mexico and at the end of his term he was decorated with the Sash of the “Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle”.    In 2009 he was appointed as Ambassador to Romania, from where he will officially retire from active service.  DIRCO would like to applaud his dedication and the contributions he made as a leader, highlighting amongst others, the establishment of the South African-Romanian Business Chamber, launched on 16 May 2013 during the visit of Deputy Minister Fransman to Romania.  
The local staff at the Embassy applauded him during the farewell event at the official residence: “Ambassador Pieter Swanepoel was an inspiration to us all.  His professionalism and kindness created an enjoyable and pleasant environment.  His dedication to his work has earned him the respect and admiration of both the Diplomatic Corps as well as the business environment in Romania.   His active 4 years in Romania resulted in the excellent bilateral relations between South Africa and Romania.  Working with Ambassador Swanepoel was really a privilege. He is a true friend, a mentor and a real leader.”

Behind every successful diplomat, there is also a dedicated wife and spouse who has been by his side during this journey.  We would like to present to both of you our very best wishes and hope you will experience good health and many thanks for your contribution to make the world a better place.  God bless!

All colleagues at the South African Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.



March 2018






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