Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera
PHOTO: Amos Gumulira, AFP
- South African officials did not “unnecessarily jeopardize” the diplomatic courtesy of Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday.
- Therefore, the police twice searched the aircraft looking for his runaway Bushiri shepherd.
- The subject will be dealt with through diplomatic channels.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says South African officials have not at any time “unduly jeopardized the normal diplomatic courtesy of visiting presidential delegations” last Friday when Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera and his entourage left South Africa.
Police searched Chakwera’s plane twice, once at Waterkloof Air Force Base and then at OR Tambo International Airport, Interior Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee on Tuesday.
Shepherd Bush and his wife, Mary, who were accused of corruption and did not show up to check with police on bail, police went to the Waterkloof, where all the passengers ’passports, including Chakwera’s bar and his wife’s, were. examined, Motsoaledi said.
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The flight was already delayed as a group of Malawian officials, who had entered from OR Tambo, wanted to leave with the rest of the delegation via Waterkloof.
According to Motsoaledi, this could not be done.
“Unacceptable and inappropriate” treatment
The Malawian government was unhappy on Monday, saying the treatment was “unacceptable and unsatisfactory”.
In a statement released Tuesday, the department said:
South Africa and Malawi have a friendly relationship at the highest level, as evidenced by the recent official working visit of the President of the Republic of Malawi by Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
“The visit was a success, which allowed the President of Excellence Cyril Ramaphosa and his counterpart to examine the state of bilateral ties.”
According to the statement, Ramaphosa and Chakwera were pleased with the current state of bilateral cooperation.
“The issue of delaying the departure of the Malawian presidential plane to Waterkloof Air Force Base was unfortunate and unavoidable. The delay was caused by major security, logistical and procedural processes,” the statement said.
“These processes arose from a number of concerns and misunderstandings within the Malawian delegation. These concerns have been addressed. It is important to note that South African officials should not in any way jeopardize the regular diplomatic courtesies they visit to presidential delegations.
“Issues related to the events at Waterkloof Air Force Base will be handled and communicated through diplomatic channels.”
The department said South Africa is committed to working to ensure mutually beneficial relations with Malawi.
Tandi Mahambehlala, chairman of the International Relations Portfolio Committee, said it was important for relevant departments in both jurisdictions to quickly resolve the issue of Bushiri’s escape.
It is not appropriate for Mr. Bushiri to pit regional trade partners against each other. Historically, Malawi and South Africa have strong bilateral and regional ties that should be strengthened and respected.
“The claims of xenophobia made by Mr Bushiri in search of sympathy for his government are a matter of concern and could put South Africa at risk at a time when it would lead to a recovery in the region’s economies,” he said.
Mahambehlala called on the people after Chakwera visited the state to smuggle Bushwiri out of the country for lack of credibility.
“Both countries have clarified this issue and if it could last longer, President Lazarus Chakwera could be unfairly endangered.”
Over the weekend, it became known that the self-proclaimed prophet Bush and his wife were in Malawi, after the bail was set aside.
The head of the church of Christian Gathering in the Enlightenment is accused of cheating his wife and three others on fraud.
The couple came out with a bond of R200,000.
On Friday, they did not show up to check in with police.
On Saturday, they said they had fled because their lives were in danger and that they would not hold a fair trial in South Africa in an interview on church social media channels.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Bushiris.
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