ANC govt attacked for failing to arrest al-Bashir

The ANC government came under attack in Parliament for allowing Omar al-Bashir to leave SA.

FILE: Members of Parliament (MPs) finally had their say on the Omar al-Bashir matter in a snap debate in the National Assembly. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma and his government came under fierce attack over their failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and for allowing him to leave the country in spite of a court order ruling he should stay.

Members of Parliament (MPs) finally had their say on the matter in a snap debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The debate was requested by the Democratic Alliance.

The party's Stevens Mokgalapa led the charge.

"The ANC government led by Jacob Zuma has committed a crime of assisting a wanted man to run from the law."

The IFP'S Albert Mncwango added, "Reports emerging over the last few days allege that it was agreed beforehand that Omar al-Bashir would be protected by all means necessary, which clearly shows trampling on the Constitution and the rule of law."

The EFF's Floyd Shivambu called for an African court of justice.

"The African court of justice hasn't been fully established because there is no decisive and clear leadership from South Africa from all the parties in the African Union which was going to hold all African leaders accountable."

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in connection with war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict.

He left South Africa last week before a court case regarding his possible arrest was concluded.

Government on Monday categorically denied media reports that it secretly plotted a safe exit from the country for Bashir.

But Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, defended government.

"The meeting of the AU had immunity and was not challenged for 10 days by anyone. It was published and wasn't objected by anyone until he arrived in the country."


Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) objected to a meeting of the rules sub-committee which took place at the same time as the house debated the illegal departure from South Africa of the Sudanese president.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude accused the EFF of holding the house ransom.

"We can't continue like this; the EFF is always holding us at ransom."

EFF leader Julius Malema objected, and argued it was difficult for smaller parties to have two meetings at the same time.

"It's extremely wrong to suggest that the EFF is holding this house at ransom because we have a right to express ourselves if we're not happy with certain processes."

EFF MPs were angry the committee meeting continued after being told it would adjourn until after the debate on al-Bashir's illegal departure from the country.