Dirco: Zambia's handling of Maimane incident may have been over the top

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was barred from entering Zambia at the airport.

FILE: DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The International Relations Department says the manner in which Zambian authorities handled Mmusi Maimane's incident at Lusaka International Airport may have been slightly over the top.

The Democratic Alliance leader was barred from entering the country at the airport.

The department says it is understood that a number of heavily armed officers entered the plane on which Maimane and his team arrived at Lusaka Airport on Thursday.

Immigration officers confiscated their electronic devices and passports.

The department's Clayson Monyela says they are now requiring more information from authorities in Zambia to explain why Maimane was barred.

"It wouldn't be over the top to send one official to go into the plane and inform somebody that unfortunately you're not allowed to enter the country for whatever reason, even if you don't offer any explanation. But to send in a number of police, heavily armed, may be slightly over the top."

Maimane was travelling to Zambia to attend the treason trial of the nation's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.

Hichilema is facing treason charges for failing to give way to a presidential motorcade last month.

[LISTEN] Maimane demands reasons for being barred from Zambia