Mugabe should not be granted asylum – James Selfe

DA puts President and Ministers on terms to deny any request or face legal action

DA puts President and Ministers on terms to deny Mugabe asylum

23 November 2017

The DA has today written to President Jacob Zuma and relevant Ministers, to put them on terms to not entertain granting President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, or his wife, Grace Mugabe, political asylum in South Africa. We believe that to do so would be illegal and in contravention of the Refugees Act (130 of 1998)

Should the Mugabe’s be granted asylum, the DA will not hesitate to approach the courts to interdict or review her decision.

Asylum is applied for in terms of Section 21 of the Act, and is defined as “refugee status”. Section 4 of the Act which deals with “exclusion from refugee status”, states that:

“(1) A person does not qualify for refugee status for the purposes of this Act if there is reason to believe that he or she –

- has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, as defined in any international legal instrument dealing with any such crimes; or

- has committed a crime which is not of a political nature and which, if committed in the Republic, would be punishable by imprisonment; or

- has been guilty of acts contrary to the objects and principles of the United Nations Organisations, or Organisation of African Unity; or

- enjoys the protection of any other country in which he or she has taken residence.”

Mr Mugabe’s hands are far from clean and there is clear “reason to believe” that he orchestrated a series of massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, against the Ndebele people in the early 1980’s.

Furthermore, he has presided over the violent oppression, arrest and targeting of opposition members throughout the better part of the last two decades and culminating with Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrawing from the 2008 election, citing a campaign of violence against his supporters which made free and fair elections impossible.

To grant Mr Mugabe asylum would put beyond any doubt the ANC government’s departure from the human rights-based foreign policy envisaged and championed by Nelson Mandela. The ANC has made it clear that they will not hesitate to break our laws to protect “big men” of Africa, as they did by letting wanted war criminal Omar al-Bashir escape.

The DA supports the people of Zimbabwe and stands firm in the defence of democracy and rule of law.

Issued by James Selfe, DA Federal Council Chairperson, 23 November 2017