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NCOP rebuffs questions around al-Bashir debacle

NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise disallowed the question when it was asked this afternoon.

South African deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been questioned about why government allowed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave the country.

Al-Bashir took off from the Waterkloof Air Force base on Monday morning, just hours before the High Court in Pretoria ruled that he be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he's wanted on charges including war crimes and genocide.

But there were no answers forthcoming from Ramaphosa, as National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise disallowed the question when it was aired this afternoon.

The Democratic Alliance's Jacques Julius wanted to know why the South African government allowed al-Bashir to leave the country when there was an international warrant out for his arrest.

But an African National Congress member of the Ncop objected on the basis that the matter's before the courts and therefore sub judice.

Modise then agreed.

She disallowed the question, letting Ramaphosa, who is South Africa's envoy to Sudan, off the hook for now.

JUDGES VOICE THEIR CONCERNS

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo gave the government one week to explain how and why al-Bashir left the country in direct contravention of a court order.

A full bench of judges in the court voiced their deep concern over government's failure to comply with a court order barring al-Bashir from leaving the country.

The court handed down an interim order on Sunday interdicting home affairs from allowing the Sudanese president to leave until an application for his arrest had been finalised.

The Southern African Litigation Centre had applied to have detained al-Bashir and handed over to the international criminal court, where he faces several charges including genocide.

"It's of concern to us that an order of this court that was issued and was to ensure the presence of al-Bashir in this country until the finalisation of these proceedings have not been complied with," said Mlambo.