DA wants release of Ramano report on Zimbabwe political violence

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The Democratic Alliance has lodged a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to compel the Presidency to release the report compiled by a group of retired generals to assess the role of the Zimbabwean security forces in perpetuating political violence during that country’s national and local elections last year.

The six generals were appointed about a year ago by former President Thabo Mbeki as part of South Africa`s extended mediation team to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

The team, led by former Chief of the South African Army, Lt Gen Gilbert Ramano, compiled a report which was submitted to the Presidency.

“But the report was never released to the public despite numerous requests from civil society groups. Mbeki failed to provide reasons for the government`s refusal to release the report. So did former President Motlanthe,” says DA Parliamentary leader Athol Trollip.

The DA leader says the “report could go a long way in shedding the much-needed light on the many human rights violations that characterised Zimbabwe`s elections last year.”

He adds victims of the political violence in Zimbabwe “will never have closure until those who were complicit in those atrocities are exposed.

“Furthermore, news reports continue to emerge to this day from Zimbabwe of political intimidation and human rights abuses and the contents of this report would help us understand the dynamics that lie at the heart of it, and the actions that need to be taken to end any form of political intimidation or violence in Zimbabwe.

Business Day newspaper last May reported that the team, that also includes the late Joe Modise`s widow, Maj Gen Jackie Sedibe, had briefed Mbeki that they had uncovered “shocking levels” of state-sponsored terror. Modise was defence minister from 1994 to 1999.

Trollip says the previous “administration`s secrecy in dealing with the political situation in Harare has created the perception that South Africa is protecting the human rights violations of Robert Mugabe`s regime. If the Zuma administration does not release the report, it will reaffirm this perception.

“The report is also a timely opportunity for President Jacob Zuma to practice his gospel of an open and transparent government. South Africans and Zimbabweans alike deserve to know the full details of the report.”

 



Pic: Athol Trollip