Canada´s ´terrorist´label of Mandela´s ANC still irritates South Africa government
The South African government and members of the Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress have complained as recently as this year about Canada´s historic labelling of their organization as a “terrorist organization”.
The apparent flashpoint between Canada and South Africa was raised during Governor General David Johnston’s visit to South Africa last May when he met with officials including South African President Jacob Zuma.
Labelling the ANC as a terrorist organization caused problems for ANC members who wanted to enter Canada. They were required to apply for special visas, because of the terrorist label.
Liberal MP Irwin Cotler said in email exchange with this writer that he has questioned the Conservative government about visa problems that resulted from Canada´s historic policy of labelling the ANC as a terrorist organization as recently as last Monday.
“The Gov suggests the South African ANC visa issue is resolved through its revised policy – I’ve heard conflicting reports,” the former Liberal justice minister said in the Twitter exchange.
The ANC now is the government of South Africa.
Documents Cotler received in return to his inquiries demonstrate discussions about those complaints were as recent as May 2013.
“The issue was raised on May 21, 2013 by … Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim (Minister of State equivalent) in an expanded meeting with South African President Zuma during the Governor General’s recent visit to South Africa,” Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander said in a written response to Cotler’s question.
The directive allows entry to Canada of members of terrorist organizations that have undergone such “fundamental changes” that it can be said “to no longer be the same organization”
Alexander said that: “we have issued an operational bulletin to our visa officers and CBSA (Canada Border Service Agency) agents indicating that the African National Congress (ANC) is an organization that has undergone substantial change and, therefore, membership in it should no longer be considered grounds for inadmissibility”
Johnston met with South African President Zuma during his visit to South Africa in May. His media release mentioned his visit to the “Iziko Slave Lodge Museum in Cape Town and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.”
Canada labelled Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization for more than two decades. Members of the party which wanted to visit Canada needed to apply for special exemptions.While Cotler has been informed that the policy is no longer in effect. Documents to demonstrate that change have not been provided, nor published on government Websites, according to the exchange between Cotler and the government.
Mandela, who died last Thursday, remained on the United States terrorist watch list until late 2008.Then secretary of state Condoleeza Rice appealed to the U.S. Congress to remove the international heroe from the list. She described the situation as an embarrassment.
For more information, please read Irwin Cotler’s blog: http://irwincotler.liberal.ca/blog/order-paper-response-q2/