Al-Bashir: SA govt defending the indefensible – James Selfe

DA CFE says president wasting even more taxpayer money by taking the matter on appeal

al-Bashir: SA government defending the indefensible instead of using tax rands to provide basic services

8 April 2016

The DA notes the government’s application to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the al-Bashir matter that has already been dealt with by the North Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). Government’s attempts to get the judiciary to change its mind on the clear legal violations by President Jacob Zuma and members of his Cabinet are unlikely to be successful.

This is with respect to government’s flagrant breach of both South African and international law when they aided and abetted the escape of wanted warlord- Sundanese President, Omar al-Bashir. Despite a warning from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a briefing to Cabinet advising them of their international responsibilities the South African government went ahead anyway.

We have every faith that the Constitutional Court will confirm the SCA’s determination that specifically found “the conduct of the government respondents in failing to take steps to arrest and detain President al-Bashir was inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations in terms of the Rome Statute and therefore unlawful.”

This is a waste of taxpayer Rands which government should be preoccupied with channelling to the right places. Government apex priority should be ensuring that the people of the country have the services and opportunities they desperately need on a daily basis and not ploughing huge amounts of money into exonerating themselves for facilitating the wanted warlord’s escape from our shores.

In doing so President Zuma as the custodian of our constitutional democracy, supported by his Cabinet Ministers, wilfully and flagrantly broke the law to protect a friend of Zuma despite a court order expressly prohibiting his leaving the country. This is the man who is at the very top of our constitutional democracy. Who instead of upholding the Rule of law has decided to treat it with the utmost contempt despite overtures that he “respects” the Constitution and the law contained therein.

The Court originally held  that “there are clear indications that the order of Sunday, June 15 2015 was not complied with. A democratic state based on the rule of law cannot exist or function if the government ignores its constitutional obligations.”

We contend therefore that the principles in question were directly contravened by the Executive, under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma, when they facilitated the escape of al-Bashir.

It is as predictable as it is concerning that government has increasingly sought to use the courts to absolve themselves of unlawful conduct that has characterised the ANC in government- most notable is the landmark Constitutional Court Nkandla judgement that found President Zuma acted inconsistently with his oath of office. We are confident that the Constitutional Court will agai find in favour of law and order and due process.

Issued by James Selfe, Chairperson of the DA's Federal Executive, 8 April 2016