A group of disgruntled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals gathered outside the Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse in Pretoria on Sunday to picket against the official visit by their president, Joseph Kabila.
Kabila was welcomed by President Jacob Zuma to attend the 10th session of the South Africa-DRC binational commission.
The binational commission, which will be co-chaired by the two heads of state, is aimed at deepening economic relations between the two countries.
DRC nationals were hurling profanities in protest outside the guesthouse, saying Kabila was an illegal president who “murders and rapes”.
Zuma’s meeting with Kabila on Sunday should be seen as a non-event, according to the protesters.
“Our constitution dictates that at the end of his second term Kabila must have vacated from power. An election must have happened, but he hasn’t made that election happen. He has no legitimacy to be called a president because we need free and fair elections to elect a leader of the DRC,” protest leader Jean Bwasa said.
“When somebody is illegitimate and illegal, how do you recognise the deals and the trade bilateral deals that he is signing here? They are irrelevant. They are void and nullified. When we have a new, legitimate government, these deals will not be recognised by the people of Congo. Whatever they are signing today is their private business. It doesn’t concern the DRC,” he said.
The DRC president has remained in power highly controversially despite his term officially ending last year.
“His presence here is a private visit between South Africa and Kabila. He has no right to engage the country any longer. Zuma allowing him here makes him a partner in crime and an accomplice on what Kabila is doing to our people in the DRC.”
The angry group chanted “murderer”, “rapist” and “son of a bitch” outside the guesthouse as they waited for Kabila’s arrival.
“Joseph Kabila is not a legitimate president. He is actually a criminal. Why is South Africa wasting money, rolling for him the red carpet? We won’t allow him to go inside. You will have to arrest us first,” one of the protesters told a police officer manning the main entrance, ANA reports.
As cars drove past into the highly secured venue, the protesters continually shouted via a loudhailer “Kabila you are not welcome here. You are a murderer.” – Additional reporting by ANA