Zuma has trampled on our human rights with al-Bashir saga - Maimane


Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has accused President Jacob Zuma of having “tramped” on the country’s Constitution and rendering its Human Rights record “unrecognisable”, when government refused to apprehend Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in June last year.

Speaking as part of Human Rights Day celebrations in Sharpeville on Monday, Maimane said Zuma chose to ignore al-Bashir’s wanting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide charges in Darfur, “so that he could show solidarity with a fellow African leader” who will go down in history as one of the “continent’s worst tyrants”.

“Our government, elected to serve the people of South Africa and uphold its Constitution, was prepared to trample on that Constitution and make a mockery of our own law. And for what? To protect a man who has caused the worst kind of suffering for hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children,” Maimane said.

“I am ashamed to say, as a South African, that we have fallen short [to value our Human Rights]. We had the chance to show the world the goodness in us and the compassion we have for those who have suffered unimaginable cruelty, and we blew it. Our President chose the tyrant instead of his victims”.

He stated that al-Bashir, who had been attending the African Union Summit in Sandton before abruptly leaving a day after the call for his arrest was made, would never had visited South Africa if late former President Nelson Mandela was still in charge, but that he had a friend in Zuma who, “much like himself, does not accountable to anyone”.

“Not only was al-Bashir not arrested, our government helped sneak him out the back door and onto a plane as a court was issuing a warrant for his arrest,” Maimane continued.

“The ANC government, led by Zuma, is quickly forgetting [the] provisions [of our] constitution. This man has already said the ANC is above the constitution. If we want to stand here and celebrate Human Rights Day, then we need to make sure we have something to celebrate.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal sided with the ruling from the Pretoria High Court that government acted in contempt of court when it failed to apprehend al-Bashir, who also transported under a Presidential Protection Unit blue escort to the Waterkloof Air Force Base while the matter was being heard court.