19 March 2019 - NW479
Gardee, Mr GA to ask the President of the Republic
(1)Whether the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, is scheduled to visit the country in the near future; if so, why does the Government continue to maintain normal relations with the Rwandan government despite the alleged murder and attempted murder of Mr Patrick Karegeya and Mr Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa which are a clear violation of the Republic’s sovereignty and rule of law; (2) what measures and steps will he take in his future engagements with the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan government in response to the violation of South Africa’s sovereignty and rule of law which resulted from the alleged murder and attempted murder of the specified persons allegedly by the Rwandan government? NW543E
1. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was one of the Heads of State and Government who attended Young Presidents’ Organisation conference in Cape Town from 6 to 7 March 2019, at the invitation of the organisers of the meeting.
Pursuant to the death of Col Karegeya who was found dead in his hotel room at Michelangelo Hotel on 31 March 2013 and the assassination attempt on the life of Gen Nyamwasa on 4 March 2014, bilateral relations between South Africa and Rwanda were severely strained.
Our Government took necessary measures by launching a police investigation on the death of Col Karegeya which is currently before an inquest. On the attempted assassination of Gen Nyamwasa, our Government declared three Rwandan diplomats and one Burundian diplomat persona non grata and expelled them from South Africa, for illegal activities inconsistent with their diplomatic work which was in violation of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention and Article 9 of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act. Our Government took that decision based on evidence from our security agencies pointing to their involvement in illegal activities.
(2) The Government of South Africa and the Government of Rwanda have since 2014 engaged in discussions pursuant to the death of Col Karegeya and attempted assassination of Gen Nyamwasa. As an outcome of these discussions, the two countries agreed in June 2015 to normalise their relations. In the meetings that I have had with President Kagame, we agreed to normalise our bilateral relations, including the reactivation of the visa service at the South African High Commission in Kigali. Our respective Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation are working on the modalities.