'Govt made a conscious decision on al-Bashir'

The tripartite alliance made the comments after a five-day summit.

Plane with call sign Sudan 01 taking off from Waterkloof Air Force Base just before midday on 15 June 2015. Picture: Alet Pretorius/Beeld/Netwerk24.

PRETORIA - The tripartite alliance has confirmed that it was a conscious decision by government to disobey a high court order and allow the escape of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The comments were made at a briefing in Pretoria yesterday after the ANC, SACP and Cosatu's five-day alliance summit.

Two weeks ago, the high court in Pretoria ruled that government's failure to arrest al-Bashir was unconstitutional and ordered his detention, but he had by that time already left the country.

While government has announced it intends challenging that decision, Home Affairs has explained that the president left unnoticed because his passport wasn't presented to immigration control.

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says government was bound by an African Union resolution and took a principled decision on the matter.

"It is unfortunate that we're found in a decision where we have to actually disobey a judge's order to comply with an international obligation that we have."

The party's Gwede Mantashe says from their position, it's not a pure judicial matter.

"It is also a political matter because we must back heavily on our relations on the continent."

It remains to be seen whether the courts will accept this explanation when the matter is appealed.