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1999

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

MENGISTU SLIPS AWAY

STATEMENT BY ROELF MEYER,
UDM DEPUTY PRESIDENT

According to international media reports this morning, it seems that Mengistu Haile Mariam has slipped out of South Africa. This apparently occurred without the knowledge of the Department of Foreign Affairs or the South African media. 

This is more than just a case of a missed opportunity. Certain reports claim that Mengistu was granted permission to enter South Africa by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, without the knowledge of high-ranking officials in the Department. 

Government would have us believe that they did not renege upon international treaties since the bureaucracy had only begun to consider extradition over the weekend. This however, is simply not true since Human Rights Watch requested the South African Government on 24 November 1999 that Mengistu be brought to justice. 

This fiasco is damaging South Africa’s international standing. Our President refuses to speak to the Dalai Lama, our Foreign Minister allows a known perpetrator of genocide into our country, and we expect the world to believe we are serious about human rights. 

Government had an excellent opportunity to prove its commitment to human rights, but bureaucratic bungling and intransigence won the day. Ironically, President Mbeki was lauded by the Minister of Justice, on 16 November 1999 at the African Renaissance Conference, as follows:

“   President Thabo Mbeki in one of his speeches on African Renaissance appealed to us to become rebels, rebels against tyranny, instability, corruption and backwardness. Indeed as he puts it, the new African world which the African renaissance seeks to build is one of democracy, peace and stability, sustainable, development and better life for the people, non-racism, and non-sexism, equality among the nations, and a just and democratic system of international governance.”

Enquiries:
Roelf Meyer, MP
UDM Deputy President

08 December 1999

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