Hosting of Mr Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti by the South African Government

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

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;

(2) Whether 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?

REPLY:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

    We 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.



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