South Africa's foreign ministry has complained about a joint statement from five ambassadors from Western countries urging the country to clamp down on corruption.

In a statement released today, Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisuslu said she had met with the ambassadors from five countries "to express South Africa’s displeasure" that they hadn't followed "established diplomatic channels when communicating to the South African government".

The US, UK, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands had sent a written memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa warning him that failure to act against those implicated in corruption placed foreign investment at risk.

The ambassadors and high commissioner regretted the misunderstanding about a discussion paper they had sent to President Cyril Rampahosa's office to contribute to a dialogue on how the country can attract more foreign direct investment.

The South Africans agreed on the need to fight corruption but had objected to the way the message was delivered. So a diplomatic row has been resolved.