SUDANESE President Omar al-Bashir did not come to the country on South Africa’s invitation, President Jacob Zuma said in the National Assembly on Thursday.
“Bashir coming to South Africa – it was by invitation of the African Union [AU] and once he is here, he is a guest of the AU,” he said in response to a question by the DA Mmusi Maimane.
Maimane had asked what steps Zuma was taking to strengthen the separation of powers.
In a follow-up, he asked how Zuma was upholding the law but not arresting Bashir as per the law.
Zuma said he had answered the question and his answer stood.
He said after the AU asked to hold the summit in South Africa, wherever it operated while in the country, it became AU area.
“That’s why the minister of international relations and co-operation, 10 days before, gazetted the area that would be the AU area, from the airport to the specific areas where the head of states would be staying,” Zuma said.
Maimane said Bashir left through Waterkloof airport. Some members of Parliament nodded their heads in agreement and muttered.
Zuma reiterated South Africa did not invite the Sudanese president.
“He came here to do continental business. We have no right to violate the AU rules.”
The government ignored an order handed down by the High Court in Pretoria on June 15, instructing it to arrest Bashir while he was in South Africa attending an AU summit.
The order followed an urgent application brought by the South African Litigation Centre that South Africa executes an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for Bashir so he could face charges of crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.