No Mugabe asylum request yet – Dirco

2017-11-22 14:04
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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

Cape Town – The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has not received a formal request for asylum from ousted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, Parliament has heard.

Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers was addressing MPs on Wednesday following Mugabe's historic resignation as president on Tuesday evening after 37 years in power.

Landers, however, dismissed social media rumours that Mugabe has or would request asylum in South Africa.

"At this point, there is no indication if he or anyone else has requested asylum. Until that happens the views on the matter are just that," Landers said.

Landers also addressed the potential consequences for former Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe's assault case in the South Gauteng High Court, were her husband to receive asylum from Dirco.

"The case against the first lady stays on the court roll and will be independent. Our courts are fiercely independent," he continued.

"So granting asylum to (former) president Mugabe won't lead to the judge taking the case off the roll. Our law does not work that way."

Mugabe was 'wrong' on Mandela

Cope MP Mosiuoa Lekota asked Landers what the department's stance was on Mugabe's recent comments that former South African president Nelson Mandela had "sold out" in negotiations for a peaceful transition in South Africa.

"The statement by (former) president Robert Mugabe must be rejected with the contempt it deserves," Landers answered.

"The honourable Lekota though accused Mr Mugabe of being a 'foreigner' when he made those comments.

"That is technically true, but then so are we; foreigners expressing our views about Zimbabwe and (former) president Robert Mugabe," he said, adding that what South Africans were was "no different to what Robert Mugabe did".

"I'm not saying he was right. He was wrong. But we must caution against talking as if Zimbabwe is a 10th province of South Africa."

Landers said it was too early to determine if this would affect economic sanctions currently against Zimbabwe.

Member countries in structures from the United Nations down to the Southern African Development Community would have to wait and see what unfolds in the country in the coming weeks.

He also said South Africa's relations with Zimbabwe remain intact. A "peaceful and stable" Zimbabwe was still in the best interests of South Africa.

'No external forces should interfere'

Landers was in agreement with some MPs that the Zimbabwean people should plot the way forward themselves. South Africa's role was to provide assistance as a neighbour.

"No external forces must interfere," Landers said.

"We need to be mindful and wary of becoming big brother, like certain countries in other parts of the world. We shouldn't fall into that trap."

He said South Africans should try and help Zimbabwe like "true neighbours".

He joined in with MPs in commending the mature manner in which Zimbabwean citizens have been celebrating the outcome, and the lack of a desire for vengeance.

He cautioned though that the debated coup d'état or bloodless correction should not be seen as the norm.

"This intervention by the Zimbabwean defence force must be viewed as an exception, and not the norm that must be followed by others in future."

He also rebuffed a suggestion by DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa that Zimbabwe's elections should be fast-tracked. The date for Zimbabwe's scheduled 2018 elections must be respected, and is an internal matter, he said.

Lastly, Landers said it was not the appropriate time for South Africa to try and play a mediating role in finding closure for the victims of the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s.

"At the appropriate time, which is not now, perhaps then we should raise it with the Zimbabweans," he said in response to the original question, again from Lekota.

"The pain won't go away until the matter has been addressed," he admitted.

Read more on:    dirco  |  robert mugabe  |  luwellyn landers  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.