Media Statement on Recent Developments Pertaining to South Africa and Rwanda Relations.
15 March 2014
Let us take a step back and recall incidents that resulted in us acting against certain criminal elements who have sought to undermine South Africa's territorial integrity. You will recall that in June 2010, there was an attack on the life of General Kayumba Nyamwasa, an asylum seeker and former Rwanda Army General. Criminal Proceedings pertaining to this incident are at an advanced stage.
This was followed by an incident that led to the murder of the former Rwanda Intelligence Chief, Colonel Patrick Karegyeya, on 31 December 2013. Criminal investigations are underway by our law enforcement agencies as it has become evident that these activities are a direct violation of the letter and spirit of our Constitution, laws and clearly undermine international conventions.
On 4 march 2014, yet another attempt was made on the life of General Nyamwasa, who is under the protection of the South African Government. There has been sustained and organised efforts to kill some of the refugees living in the Republic. It is clear that these incidents directly link to tensions emanating from Rwanda and are acted upon within our borders. This recent event clearly undermined our national security, territorial integrity and put South Africans in harm's way.
As part of our continued monitoring of the security situation in the country, government has established that there are organised criminal networks whose activities seek to undermine our national security. These have been coordinated and facilitated by some individuals who abused their diplomatic and refugee status granted in terms of international laws and protocols.
It is for these reasons that South Africa expelled four Rwandan diplomats and one from Burundi for violating their status. Investigations have revealed direct links between these diplomats and the criminal activities referred to above. The action we took was targeting only those who violated the Vienna Convention, Article 41 and our own Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.
The Ambassador of Rwanda, the Millitary Attache and other functionaries in the Rwanda Diplomatic Mission in Pretoria are in place and functioning normally.
The South African government regrets that the Rwandan government reciprocated disproportionately by expelling all our diplomats except the Ambassador thus making the work of our mission in Rwanda difficult as it cannot discharge its services that our people and Rwandans normally receive.
The South African government sends a stern warning that action will be taken against any individual or group that abuses the human rights dispensation of the Republic. In doing so, we remain steadfast in ensuring that our territory is not used as a launching pad for any form of attack including terrorist activities against any member of the international community. In the same vein, we will continue to act against those who abuse our relations and diplomatic immunities and privileges.
We appreciate the understanding and cooperation received from the Government of Burundi and commit to sustain this collaboration with a view to get to the bottom of this matter. We would like to assure the South African citizens that the stability of the state shall be paramount in our efforts aimed at ensuring that our people are and do feel safe.
For more information: Clayson Monyela on 082 884 5974.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road