Portal Home Page Provincial News Home Email this Page Printable Version RSS Feed

 
  Other Articles from THIS province
  News by Regions
and Provinces
Online News distributed by the
Diocese of Antsiranana
(Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean)
Photo No. : P100903-1

 
SOUTH AFRICA MINISTER FOR INTERNATIONAL Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane yesterday questioned the judicial process that sentenced Madagascar's former president, Marc Ravalomanana, to life imprisonment last week.
 
ANTSIRANANA 100903-1
September 3, 2010

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] South Africa: Minister Speaks Out on Madagascar

Loyiso Langeni

3 September 2010

Johannesburg INTERNATIONAL Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane yesterday questioned the judicial process that sentenced Madagascar's former president, Marc Ravalomanana, to life imprisonment last week.

This statement is the clearest indication yet that SA does not recognise Madagascar's government led by Andry Rajoelina.

"The outcome of the case should not be isolated from the political" developments in Madagascar, Ms Nkoana-Mashabane said. "I don't think that judgments that are passed in absentia will help in resolving problems in Madagascar," she said.

Foreign policy analysts seem to concur with the minister's statements. Siphamandla Zondi, director of the Institute for Global Dialogue, told Business Day yesterday that "it is very obvious that this court case is tainted by the political situation" in Madagascar. "The judgment may not be political but the very idea of using a court to settle a political case is very problematic," Mr Zondi said.

Tom Wheeler, a foreign policy expert at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said he was "not surprised" by the minister's comments. "It's just a way of neutralising the man (Mr Ravalomanana) by giving him a life sentence," Mr Wheeler said.

He said SA and former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano "have put in a lot of effort to resolve the political situation there", but to no avail.

Mr Chissano was appointed by the Southern African Development Community to resolve Madagascar's political stalemate between factions supporting Mr Ravalomanana and incumbent Mr Rajoelina.

Mr Ravalomanana was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly instructing soldiers to viciously suppress a protest march in Madagascar last year when he was still president. About 30 people died and several were wounded in the capital Antananarivo, official reports indicated.

This incident culminated in a coup, which forced Mr Ravalomanana to flee to Swaziland and settle in SA last year. This coup was met with an angry response from of the African Union (AU) member states.

The AU summarily suspended Madagascar's membership.

An official at Madagascar's embassy in Pretoria yesterday declined to comment on whether an official request will be made to the South African government to return Mr Ravalomanana to his country.

Madagascar does not have an extradition agreement with SA, according to information from the Department of Justice's web portal. Mr Ravalomanana is the second head of state to be granted asylum in SA.