Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
22 Nov 2016
5:51 am

Machar ‘not a guest of the SA government’, says Dirco

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The department's Clayson Monyela said former South Sudan rebel leader Machar was in the country as a private visitor.

The international relations and cooperation department (Dirco) said it was unaware of former South Sudan vice-president Riek Machar’s movements in South Africa following his arrival in the country last month seeking medical attention.

The former rebel leader was earlier this year replaced as vice-president by Taban Deng Gai – a move seen as a sign of divisions within the war-torn country’s opposition.

Having incurred injuries during combat in the civil war in his country, Machar fled in July and announced his intention to seek medical attention in South Africa last month.

ALSO READ: Machar ensconced in ‘confidential diplomatic mission’

Machar was on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) wanted list in 2011 and the former rebel admitted to being responsible for the 1991 massacre of 2 000 Dinka tribesmen in Bor. His arrival raises eyebrows as it came several months after the Supreme Court of Appeal had upheld a high court judgment saying government’s decision not to detain Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when visiting the country was inconsistent with the constitution.

Machar’s visit preceded South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the ICC.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said government was not involved in Machar’s stay locally. “He is not a guest of the South African government,” Monyela said.

“As you know, he is not part of the Sudanese government, he is a private visitor and we don’t know his movements, where he gets medical attention or who pays.”

Last month, Monyela told the media that consultations were made with the government of South Sudan regarding Machar’s visit.