Granting Mugabe asylum in SA a hot potato

2017-11-18 13:01
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare, where he presides as the Chancellor on November 17, 2017. (AFP)

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe delivers a speech during a graduation ceremony at the Zimbabwe Open University in Harare, where he presides as the Chancellor on November 17, 2017. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gauteng – With pressure mounting against President Robert Mugabe to step down, the issue of where he would seek asylum has become a hotly contested issue, with many saying South Africa is the obvious choice.

The move to grant him asylum has been welcomed by, among others, the Economic Freedom Fighters and African diaspora, but has been slammed as unethical and illegal by the likes of Cope and the Democratic Alliance.

Granting the ageing authoritarian leader asylum in South Africa is further complicated by the current criminal case his controversial wife Grace is facing in South Africa, following her alleged assault on 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels, with an extension cord at a Sandton hotel in August.

READ: Fall from Grace: Mugabe's wife was his weakness

Lobby group AfriForum, acting on behalf of Engels, have vowed to prosecute the first lady if she returns to South Africa, with their chief executive, Kallie Kriel, saying they were already in the process of having Grace’s diplomatic immunity revoked through the courts.

Plan B underway

Mugabe, who has held onto power for 37 years has shot down a proposed exit deal, forcing the implementation of Plan B. This has resulted in all 10 Zanu-PF provinces passing a vote of no confidence against him, declaring that the 93-year-old was unfit to lead both the ZANU-PF and government.

Once Mugabe is officially removed as Zanu-PF leader, it is believed there will be a push to have him impeached early next week.

It is understood that, should Mugabe and his family be granted political exile in South Africa, they would be provided a residence by the government, for security reasons, despite the family owning numerous mansions in the country.

Both COPE and the DA have spoken out against the country providing asylum to Mugabe, while the EFF and African Diaspora Forum have welcomed the proposal.

DA call for asylum to be denied

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the government would be breaking the law if it were to grant Mugabe political asylum.

"We are of the view that this would be a violation of South Africa law, and as such President Jacob Zuma must make a public statement rejecting such an outcome," he said.

Maimane said allowing Mugabe into South Africa on political asylum would be in contravention of the Refugees Act.

Maimane pointed out that the act excludes individuals from asylum if they had committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, among others.

"Mugabe has, like many other leaders on the continent, turned from liberator to dictator, with human rights abuses and crimes against peace being committed under his watch," said Maimane.  

"As such, he ought to be denied refugee status as per the law," Maimane said.

"As long as Mugabe would not face torture or death penalty in Zimbabwe, the South African government must exclude him from asylum."

Maimane said Mugabe must step down immediately and Zimbabwe should go to the polls to elect a new government.

Cope also called for Mugabe to be denied asylum, saying this would go against the values and principles of the South African Constitution.

EFF: Mugabe one of us

The EFF condemned Maimane’s stance, saying no court of law in the world had found Mugabe guilty of human rights violations.

"President Mugabe remains one of us despite his many mistakes as president of Zimbabwe. As a matter of fact, he does not need any passport to come and live in South Africa and we shall never confine our relationship with him as an African leader to colonially imposed borders," said EFF national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said Mugabe's moral record, with all its weaknesses, was still superior to moral records of many in the ranks of the DA who had actively participated, benefited and continued to benefit from apartheid crimes against black people.

Ndlozi said the DA's anti-pan-Africanist position was "driven by vengeance for white Rhodesians whose farms were taken following the failure of the British government to implement the Lancaster Agreement".

"In the name of the properties of these whites, DA wants South Africa to reject Mugabe as a form of punishment," Ndlozi said.

Ndlozi said the EFF called on the ANC to be decisive and grant Mugabe political asylum.

"This will advance peace in Zimbabwe and provide even better conditions for Zimbabweans to move faster into a better future under a democratic civilian rule," he said.

Read more on:    cope  |  anc  |  eff  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.