South Africa has not recognised the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and will not do so until specific conditions are met, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
This was in line with policy agreed upon by the African Union (AU), he added.
However, at least 20 AU member nations have independently acknowledged the legitimacy of the NTC, including Botswana, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Reiterating South Africa’s stance on Libya during the presidential question and answer session in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Zuma did not say what the “specific conditions” were, but comments by the
“The AU has taken a very clear position and as we are part of the AU we could not do something different; the AU has not recognised the NTC. Some countries take individual positions as is their right; many do this to protect their own foreign policies,” he said.
Inclusive Libyan authority
Following Zuma’s comments in Parliament, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said later on Tuesday that Libya’s interim authority should include representatives from all regions of the country.
Libya’s history had shown the danger of the leadership being drawn from only one part of the country, she said.
“When Colonel Gaddafi toppled the monarchy in 1969, he promised democracy and good governance to the people of Libya,” she told a government cluster briefing.
“Forty-two years later, all people who were part of this regime were largely from the part of the country where he came from, and from the neighbouring places.
“People from Benghazi and the surrounding areas felt excluded throughout his regime. At the moment, we all know the revolution started in Benghazi and Misrata and started unfolding towards these other areas.”
Nkoana-Mashabane said the NTC knew “exactly what the AU meant by an all inclusive interim government”.
It should “include all sectors and representatives of all the regions that complete Libya”.
She stopped short of directly calling for members of the fallen Gaddafi regime to be included in the NTC, but said the fact that one of them now led the new authority was not enough.
NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil served as justice minister under Gaddafi.
“I don’t think if you have one or two people we would then say this is all-inclusive because you have picked one person from that part of the world,” she said.
Inclusion of black Libyans
The minister also raised concerns about reprisals against black Libyans or sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime.
“In Libya at the moment, many people who come from the southern part of the country are black like me. We have been getting reports of killings and atrocities against people of colour because of this lack of reconciliation,” she said.
“The NTC remains an opportunity which should not be missed by wanting to just gallop, and not wanting to be as inclusive as possible.”
AU’s Libya panel to meet in SA
South Africa will host a meeting of the African Union’s committee on Libya on Wednesday, the presidency said.
Spokesperson Bongani Majola could not elaborate on Tuesday on what would be discussed.
Mauritania’s President General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz heads the committee which, apart from South Africa, also includes leaders of Uganda, Mali and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). — I-Net Bridge and Sapa