Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Rwanda row: Be patient

2014-03-18 16:18

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International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has appealed for patience with the government as it investigates the assassination attempts on Joburg-based former Rwandan army boss Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, which led to diplomatic expulsions by both countries.

Many in the government avoided commenting on the expulsions since South Africa recalled three diplomats last week, a move that was reciprocated by the Rwandans.

Read: Jacob Zuma says fight with Rwanda isn’t unusual

Nkoana-Mashabane was speaking to the media in Pretoria this afternoon, where she said that although there was evidence linking Rwandans to the attempted assassination, South Africa would follow international law when dealing with criminal matters involving diplomats.

“Evidence does exist, but please allow law enforcement to continue with the work they are busy with. We did what normally gets done when such acts are alleged to have happened,” she said.

The fact that the alleged conspirators in the assassination attempt had already been removed to Rwanda would not stand in the way of South Africa’s law enforcement agencies arresting or questioning anyone found to have been linked to the allegations.

“If some people are alleged to have been involved in undiplomatic actions while they are diplomats, we will ask for Rwanda to deem that person a persona non grata and they will be shown the evidence,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

She added that South Africa would not communicate with its Rwandan counterparts through the media, but would rather stick to diplomatic channels.

“We will communicate with Rwanda the way we always do,” she said.

She would not be drawn on the progress of the investigation and said that “whatever actions South Africa took in the past few days, we were not emotional”.

“I would be wrong to start laying out the progress our law enforcement is making. I appeal for calm and to let law enforcement continue doing its work,” she said.

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