Posted on August 13, 2004

SA: Aristide Still President (SA), Aug. 12

Cape Town — South Africa continues to recognise deposed Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the legitimately elected president of Haiti, says Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Replying to written questions in the national assembly by DA chief whip Douglas Gibson, she said Aristide had not applied for asylum in South Africa.

He, his family, and aids were being treated as “foreign distinguished guests of the state” in terms of the Immigration Act.

“The financial upkeep of President Aristide and his family will be done in accordance with the standards and procedures laid down for a Cabinet minister in South Africa, while the security assessment will be done on an ongoing basis by the security establishment,” she said.

SA paying

Asked whether government had asked France or the United States to provide funds to cover Aristide’s stay in the country, Dlamini-Zuma said cabinet had received a formal request from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to accommodate him in the country.

“The South African government acceded to this request. We did not think it appropriate to ask somebody else to pay,” she said.

Regarding the cost of transporting Aristide to South Africa, she said: “We do not know. He was transported courtesy of the South African (National) Defence Force.”

No restrictions, apart from “those dictated by reasons of security”, were being placed on Aristide’s political activities and movements inside or outside of South Africa, she said.