Hosting of Mr Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti by the South African
QUESTION NO: 153
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL
QUESTION PAPER NO 4 OF MARCH 2006
MR DHM GIBSON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
(1) Whether, in light of the recent presidential
elections in Haiti, the Government still accords Mr Jean-Bertrand Aristide the
status of a visiting head of state; if not, why not; if so, why;
the taxpayers are still covering the costs of the stay of Mr Aristide, his family,
staff and entourage in South Africa; if not, who is responsible for covering these
costs; if so, what is the monthly cost of his (a) accommodation, (b) transport,
(c) office and support staff and (d) security;
(3) Whether a date has been
set for Mr Aristide's departure from South Africa; if not, why not; if so, when
is it envisaged that he will return to Haiti;
(4) (a) what is the basis
for Mr Aristide's continued stay in South Africa and (b) how does it contribute
to South Africa's national interest?
- The South
African Government continues to accord President Jean-Bertrand Aristide the status
of a former Head of State and will treat him as a guest of the South African Government
for as long as is necessary although neither the South African Government nor
President Aristide believes he is here on a permanent basis.
The South African Government also continues to cover the costs of the stay of
President Aristide, his family, staff and entourage in South Africa, in compliance
with the original request received from CARICOM via the African Union. The monthly
costs of his accommodation, transport, office support staff and security are similar
to the cost normally incurred for a South African Cabinet Minister.
It is important for the South African Government to keep analysing the situation
in Haiti, following the recently concluded presidential elections. President Aristide
has the intention to return to Haiti when the situation is conducive for him to
do so. The conditions that must be in place for President Aristide to return to
Haiti are inter alia stability and the assurance of his safety; in other words
that he will be a free citizen able to lead a normal life.
- You will recall
that President Mbeki, on 18 February 2006, joined world leaders in commending
the people of Haiti on the successful outcome of the recent Presidential election.
believe South Africa's national interest will be best served if Haiti's endeavour
to nation building, reconciliation, peace, justice and stability succeeds to the
extent to which the international community, working in consultation with CARICOM
and the Organisation of American States (OAS), will provide its support and make
resources available to the Haitian people. President Aristide's continued stay
in South Africa must be seen as part of this international process to create peace
and stability in Haiti.