SOUTH Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has rejected President Jacob Zuma government’s plans to offer political asylum to cornered leader President Robert Mugabe, warning that any attempts to accommodate the Zanu PF leader in their country would be met with resistance.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
This came amid reports that Mugabe, put under house arrest by the military last week, had offered to step down and warmed up to the idea of seeking refuge in South Africa.
DA, on Friday, said: “The DA firmly rejects the prospect of the South African government granting President Robert Mugabe access into the country on so-called ‘political asylum’. We are of the view that this would be a violation of South Africa law, and as such President Jacob Zuma must make a public statement rejecting such an outcome.”
“We are of the view that allowing Robert Mugabe into South Africa on political asylum, or ‘refugee status’ would be in contravention of the Refugees Act (130 of 1998) – the empowering legislation,” DA said in a statement.
The DA argued Mugabe should be made to face prosecution for human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
“Robert Mugabe has, like many other leaders on the continent, turned from liberator to dictator, with human rights abuses and crimes against peace being committed under his watch. As such, he ought to be denied refugee status as per the law. As long as Mugabe would not face torture or death penalty in Zimbabwe, the South African government must exclude him from asylum,” DA said.
“It cannot be that under Jacob Zuma’s ANC, our nation’s borders are opened up to human rights violators like Robert Mugabe. This opposes the very spirit of our Constitution, and is an assault on the dignity of the millions of fellow Africans who have suffered under the reign of Robert Mugabe. South Africa’s role must be to stabilise the transitional government, ensure prosecution of those who have broken the law, and ensure that free and fair elections take place.
“We maintain that the only way forward for Zimbabwe is for fresh elections to be held immediately, and for Robert Mugabe to step down as President of Zimbabwe.”
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans across the political divide marched on the streets demanding Mugabe’s immediate resignation with the ruling Zanu PF party also joining the push for his ouster.