HUMAN rights groups and legal experts have said recently-appointed Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana has no mandate to comment on the recently passed judgment by the South African Supreme Court directing that country’s police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to investigate senior Zimbabwe officials implicated in perpetrating violence on MDC supporters if they are on South African soil.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
They accused Tomana of overstepping his mandate by commenting on the ruling as he was not a diplomat or Attorney-General (AG) who speaks on behalf of the government.
The PG is the head of the NPA which is independent from the government.
Tomana had said the recent judgment by the South African Supreme Court ordering the police to investigate allegations of torture against Zimbabwean officials is an unfortunate development.
He said the decision would cause an unnecessary strain on relations between the two countries and added that the judgment treated Zimbabwe like a province of South Africa.
He accused the South African Judiciary of arrogance for entertaining the case.
Human rights activist Dumisani Nkomo said Tomana’s comments proved that his credibility was highly compromised and he had turned himself into a “Zanu PF activist” instead of concentrating on his mandate of prosecuting.
“The judgment by the South African court is the best because in Zimbabwe people have failed to secure recourse on human rights abuses perpetrated against them. With the high scale of abuses in the country, definitely South Africa as a neighbour has the moral right to investigate and arrest any perpetrator of violence who lands on its soil.
“Tomana has no business talking about the issue. He is not the Foreign Affairs minister, and lest he forget, he is no longer the AG, who is the chief government legal advisor,” Nkomo said.
A legal expert and human rights lawyer Kucaca Phulu said Tomana was not the correct person to comment on the case.
“He should not participate in that issue as the PG. He should focus on his job of prosecuting. I don’t’ think he should involve himself with the issue. He is overstepping his functions,” Phulu said.
ZimRights national director Okay Machisa said South Africa had a right to be concerned about human rights issues in Zimbabwe and Tomana should not be speaking on behalf of the government because he is not a government official.
“These people fail to understand that Zimbabwe is not a sole entity. It is a member of the regional bloc and global league of nations where if one is injured the other is injured too.
“South Africa has every right to be concerned about human rights issues in Zimbabwe as a responsible neighbour,” Machisa said.