Opposition MPs: Al-Bashir evasion brought SA into disrepute

Opposition MPs launched a blistering attack against the ANC govt for allowing Omar al-Bashir to leave SA.

FILE. Opposition MPs accused overnment of showing disregard for the rule of law and bringing SA into disrepute. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Government has come under blistering attack from most opposition parties over its failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and apparent disregard for a South African High Court order to keep him in the country.

Al-Bashir, who attended the African Union (AU) Summit here, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

During fierce debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday, opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) accused government of showing disregard for the rule of law and bringing South Africa into disrepute.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Stevens Mokgalapa led the charge.

"What is the purpose of this Parliament in ratifying treaties when the executive decides on a whim to defy them?"

Freedom Front Plus Leader Pieter Mulder said, "No other executive act has ever exposed the African National Congress (ANC) as a human rights violator on such a grand scale to the whole world."

LISTEN: Al-Bashir evasion: 'Sometimes political objectives outweigh the law'

Deputy Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela fought back.

"We're not going to be using the AU therefore to be the platform where we arrest leaders, that will never happen, such as the United Nations (UN) was never used to arrest any leader."

LISTEN: Mantashe: Heads of state aren't arrested at UN, why must AU be different?

ANC MPs argued that al-Bashir's arrest would jeopardise Sudanese peace talks and South Africa's diplomatic relations on the continent.