DA calls for Public Protector to investigate al-Bashir matter

2015-06-22 15:48
Omar al-Bashir at the AU Summit in Joburg recently. His presence in SA has sparked heated discussions about SA’s legal obligations. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

Omar al-Bashir at the AU Summit in Joburg recently. His presence in SA has sparked heated discussions about SA’s legal obligations. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

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Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has written to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate whether any state funds were used to transport Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir out of the country, despite a court order barring him from leaving last week, he said on Monday.

"I've asked the public protector to investigate this matter so that we can ensure that where there was an abuse of state resources and power against a very significant court order, that those who are involved in this particular matter, be dealt with."

At the weekend, media reports indicated that President Jacob Zuma and senior ministers from the justice cluster had carefully planned how al-Bashir would leave the country, despite a warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which South Africa is a signatory.

The SA Litigation Centre had applied for South Africa to enforce two warrants for al-Bashir's arrest issued by the ICC in 2009 and 2010 relating to alleged war crimes and genocide.

Judhe Hans Fabricius then ordered the Deprtment of Home Affairs to ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that al-Bashir was not allowed to leave until SALC's application was concluded.

Al-Bashir left the country while the matter was still being heard in court, which caused an uproar country-wide. 

"As per weekend reports, the Presidency's own security, VIP Protection, was being used to transport al-Bashir. So in any environment, if a law is broken and the use of state resources [then] South Africans deserve to know," Maimane said.

He said Zuma had not only flouted South Africa's own laws, but he had also ignored the rights of those killed under the Sudanese president's rule in Darfur.

"What happened is an atrocity and for our president to simply behave in such a manner that says Omar al-Bashir can come into South Africa and be assured a way out, to me, is a violation not only of the rights of the lives that were lost - their justice - and furthermore our own laws as South Africans."

Zuma's actions made South Africa look like a country that was beset on obeying its own rules, which was not acceptable, Maimane said.

"Can you imagine if other South Africans decided the law did not apply to them? What nation are we building?"

Read more on:    da  |  icc  |  mmusi maimane  |  omar al-bashir  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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