'SA not a springboard for illegal acts'

The Justice Minister tackles the expulsion of three Rwandan diplomats and a Burundian envoy.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has broken government's silence following the recent expulsion of three Rwandan diplomats and a Burundian envoy.

Radebe says South Africa will not tolerate being used as a springboard for illegal activity.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has maintained an official silence over last week's expulsions and Rwanda's expulsion of six South African diplomats in response.

The tit-for-tat came after an attempt on the life of exiled former Rwandan army Chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa.

On New Year's Eve, former Rwandan external intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was found dead in a Johannesburg hotel room.

The Justice Minister has issued a stern warning that South Africa will not be used as a springboard for illegal acts by anyone.

"What's happened is that individuals from Rwanda and one from Burundi were involved in these illegal activities. We are bound by our Constitution and the law to take a stand and action against them."

Radebe stressed, however, that diplomatic relations with Rwanda were still intact.

"Our ambassador is still accredited in Kigali and their ambassador is still accredited here in Pretoria."

The minister says the diplomats were declared personae non gratae after evidence that they'd acted in breach of the rules and conventions governing diplomats' conduct.