12 March 2014

South Africa: Radebe Issues Stern Warning to Rwanda

Photo: ikazeiwacu.unblog
Rwandan dissident Patrick Karegeya was assassinated in South Africa last year (file photo).

Cape Town — South Africa will not be used by foreign governments to wage attacks on their dissidents, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Wednesday.

"As the South African government we want to send a very stern warning to anybody anywhere in the world that our country will not be used as a springboard to do illegal activities," Radebe said during a justice, crime prevention, and security cluster of ministries briefing in Cape Town.

Radebe was responding to questions on the expulsion of Rwandan diplomats from South Africa last week.

"The South African government has taken a decision to declare persona non grata persons from Rwanda and Burundi who violated article 41 of the Geneva Convention and article 9 of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, so that is the main reason why that action was taken arising from illegal activities that have taken place where attempted murders, including a murder, of [Rwandan] nationals who are in South Africa," he said.

The three Rwandan diplomats were allegedly linked to a recent "attempted hit" on exiled Rwandan army chief Faustin Nyamwasa at his home in Johannesburg.

Nyamwasa, who is a former rival and critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, survived an assassination attempt in Johannesburg in 2010.

He and his family were not at home last Monday night, reportedly having been moved to a safe place ahead of the latest attack.

Radebe said the South African government had evidence that the expelled Rwandans and a Burundi diplomat, who was also given his marching orders, last week were involved in crimes on South African soil.

Following the expulsion, Rwanda expelled six South African diplomats.

Asked about this, Radebe said: "There are good diplomatic relations between South Africa and Rwanda and those still remain intact."

Embassies and missions in the two countries remained open.

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