By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
07 February 2014
AfriForum, which successfully prevented South Africa from donating helicopters to Zimbabwe, says it will monitor the donation of the same aircraft to Namibia to ensure that it does not end up benefiting the Mugabe regime.
The South African civil rights NGO said the Air Force indicated this week that the final approval of the donation to Namibia was still pending but seemed to be a formality. France, the manufacturer of the 12 helicopters, has already approved the transaction, a statement issued Thursday said. The statement further quoted reports which said the aircraft and parts are packed and ready for shipment.
An urgent court order obtained by AfriForum in 2013 prevented the same donation to Zimbabwe on fears that the government there would use the aircraft against its own people.
However, since it is unclear yet what Namibia will do with the donation, AfriForum said it will monitor the transaction ‘carefully’ to ensure Namibia does not hand over the aircraft to the ZANU PF government.
In 1998 Pretoria donated 150 Samil trucks and 24 guns to Namibia. During that time, Namibia and Zimbabwe were involved in the DRC civil war. According to the statement, it later came to light that the guns were sent to the DRC as soon as they had arrived in Namibia.
The statement said in the event that the donation to Namibia was ‘merely to have the helicopters delivered to Zimbabwe’, contempt of court proceedings will be brought to court against the South African authorities.
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) director Gabriel Shumba hailed the development and said he hoped Namibia does not send the aircraft to Zimbabwe. He said: ‘Zimbabwe is not a country at war. If it is, it is at war against hunger.’ merely a set to have the helicopters delivered to Zimbabwe in any event, contempt of court proceedings will be brought against the relevant ministers and officials.merely a set to have the helicopters delivered to Zimbabwe in any event, contempt of court proceedings will be brought against the relevant ministers and officials.
AfriForum actively supports human rights movements in Zimbabwe. Alongside the Zimbabwe Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Z EF, AfriForum want South Africa to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Last year AfriForum, together with former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth, submitted more evidence of torture to the South African authorities who have since appealed against a Court order compelling them to act on Zimbabwe.