SA seeks inclusive Libyan authority
Cape Town - Libya's interim authority must include representatives from all regions of the country, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.
Libya's history had shown the danger of the leadership being drawn from only one part of the country, she said.
"When Colonel [Muammar] Gaddafi toppled the monarchy in 1969, he promised democracy and good governance to the people of Libya," she told a government cluster briefing.
"Forty-two years later, all people who were part of this regime were largely from the part of the country where he came from and from the neighbouring places.
"People from Benghazi and the surrounding areas felt excluded throughout his regime. At the moment, we all know the revolution started in Benghazi and Misrata and started unfolding towards these other areas."
Nkoana-Mashabane said the National Transitional Council (NTC), recognised by more than 80 nations, but not the African Union, as Libya's legitimate leaders, knew "exactly what the AU meant by an all inclusive interim government".
It should "include all sectors and representatives of all the regions that complete Libya".
She stopped short of directly calling for members of the fallen Gaddafi regime to be included in the NTC, but said the fact that one of them now led the new authority was not enough.
NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil served as justice minister under Gaddafi.
"I don't think if you have one or two people we would then say this is all-inclusive because you have picked one person from that part of the world."
The minister raised concerns about reprisals against black Libyans or sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime.
"In Libya at the moment, many people who come from the southern part of the country are black like me. We have been getting reports of killings and atrocities against people of colour because of this lack of reconciliation," she said.
"The NTC remains an opportunity which should not be missed by wanting to just gallop and not wanting to be as inclusive as possible."
Earlier this month, South Africa boycotted a conference of world leaders on Libya in Paris, because of Nato's role in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime and what it deemed a lack of representivity in the NTC.
President Jacob Zuma said he was "not happy" at how "individual countries" had interpreted UN resolution 1973 that paved the way for military action in Libya.
State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said at the same briefing that the government was worried about arms, including anti-aircraft weaponry, in the region falling into the hands of "terror" groups.
He dismissed suggestions that South Africa had contributed to this danger by selling arms to the Gaddafi regime as late as last year. There had been no further exports since then, he said.
"The conflict in Libya really began in earnest this year and since then I am not aware that South Africa has sold any weapons to that regime or government," Cwele said.
"Unlike certain countries who have been confirming that they have been arming certain components, the South African government has not done so. I refute any suggestions that South Africa has sold weapons during this type of conflict in Libya."
Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said South Africa had not been able to foresee the events in Libya, though several ministries had been monitoring the unfolding of the Arab Spring.
"When we sold the sniper rifles that you might be referring to, Libya was as secure - to the extent that it was possible for us to determine - as any other country," she said.
"In some countries we are not able to predict that there might be unrest."