Lawyers representing Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday submitted persuasive letter to President Jacob Zuma including three Cabinet ministers.
The letter is addressed to President Zuma, Minister of International Relations and Corporation, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of Justice.
Minde Schapiro & Smith Attorneys stated in the letter that they have been instructed by their client [DA] to persuade the government not to offer the Mugabes any residence whether under Immigration or Refugee Acts.
“It is of concern that our client notes that there is suggestion in the general and social media that either or both Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his wife Dr Grace Mugabe, both of Zimbabwe would be entitled to reside in South Africa on any basis.”
The move came after Mugabe was fired as President of the ruling party, ZANU-PF and subsequently forced to resign as head of state and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwean Defence Force.
Mugabe’s political demise began in early November after he unceremoniously sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa as his vice president, allegedly to pave a way for his wife Grace Mugabe to succeed him.
This led the country’s ruling party, Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the military to intervene and force Mugabe to step down.
Last week, the country’s military deployed armoured vehicles to the Zimbabwean capital city of Harare, confining Mugabe to his residence.
After Mugabe failed to meet the party’s ultimatum to resign, it decided to begin impeachment proceedings, with the Zimbabwean parliament’s speaker announcing Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday
DA Federal Council Chairperson James Selfe said such offer to grant Mugabe asylum will be unconstitutional, unlawful and in violation of principles of international law.
“Should the Mugabe’s be granted asylum, they [DA] will not hesitate to approach the courts to interdict or review the decision,” said Selfe.
DA argue that Mugabe’s hands are far from clean and there is clear “reason to believe” that he [Robert Mugabe] orchestrated a series of massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, against the Ndebele people in the early 1980’s.
Furthermore, said Selfe he [Mugabe] has presided over the violent oppression, arrest and targeting of opposition members throughout the better part of the last two decades.
This resulted with Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrawing from the 2008 election, citing a campaign of violence against his supporters which made free and fair elections impossible.
“To grant Mugabe asylum would put beyond any doubt the ANC government’s departure from the human rights-based foreign policy envisaged and championed by Nelson Mandela. The ANC has made it clear that they will not hesitate to break our laws to protect “big men” of Africa, as they did by letting wanted war criminal Omar al-Bashir escape,” said Selfe