Parliament grills President Zuma over al-Bashi
South African President, Jacob Zuma, on Thursday reiterated his government’s stance that Pretoria had no role in ordering an arrest of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, when he attended African Union Summit in Johannesburg.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) fugitive sparked a storm when he attended the Summit in Sandton in June and left suddenly left the country following an ICC arrest warrant on him.
Answering questions in the National Assembly, Zuma reiterated that al-Bashir was a guest of the African Union and not of the South African government.
Zuma took this position after Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, reminded him that in 2010, he had told Parliament that he would respect the court’s order that al-Bashir be arrested.
“You said South Africa respects international law and certainly are signatories and will abide by the law.
“What has changed in 2010 recently in contravention of a high court order to arrest al-Bashir? Your government assisted in allowing him to leave South Africa,” Maimane charged.
Meanwhile, Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, backed government’s decision to let al-Bashir leave the country.
“I’m happy you did not arrest him. We are not going to agree on the arrest of an African leader in South Africa to polarise Africa… But I do not agree with the violation of a court order,” Malema told Zuma.