Mantashe’s al-Bashir court rant

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 23, 2015

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, has blasted the North Gauteng and Western Cape High Courts for what he described as advancing “sections of judiciary to create chaos for governance” in an apparent reference to the ruling which calls on government to investigate the sudden departure of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir.

“We know if it doesn’t happen in the Western Cape High Court, it will happen in the Northern Gauteng – those are the two benches where you always see that the narrative is totally negative and create a contradiction,” Mantashe, speaking in an interview with Carte Blance, was quoted by CityPress as saying.

In an article published over the weekend, the paper alleged that it had obtained a SMS transcript showing that al-Bashir’s abrupt departure had been part of a carefully planned plot to avoid him being arrested and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide in Darfur.

Mantashe however said that government could not be held accountable for letting al-Bashir go, as his arrest would have been against the state.

“You have South Africa hosting [the African Union] summit, you say, ‘Arrest a head of state.’ Obviously when you take that decision you are contradicting the interest of the state versus judiciary.

“People forget that in this country we took a decision, consciously, not to arrest leaders of the apartheid regime … Why would the judiciary today want to relegate South Africa into a pariah state on the continent?,” he said.

In a reported interview with Talk Radio 702 yesterday, Mantashe also stated that South Africa should withdraw its support for the ICC as its workings are “dangerous”.

“If I was in government, I would say give notice, get out of that, it was not what was envisioned. It is a tool in the hands of the powerful to destroy the weak and it is a court that is focusing on Africa, Eastern Europe and Middle East,” he said.

Parliament is set to quiz President Jacob Zuma later today on government’s involvement in al-Bashir’s departure.