It’s up to SA govt to invite Mugabe to Fort Hare celebrations, says his spokesperson

President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson has refused to confirm or deny his attendance at the University of Fort Hare’s centenary celebration on Friday.

George Charamba told News24 that the South African government had to make the final decision on whether to invite the Zimbabwean leader to the country’s oldest university, based in the Eastern Cape.

“There is no invitation… SA government is the one to make that decision,” Charamba said.

Charamba’s remarks came after the Zimbabwean opposition parties urged the University of Fort Hare to withdraw an invite believed to have been extended to Mugabe.

According to News 24, the newly formed, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), threatened to demonstrate at the university’s celebration, should Mugabe attend.

In a letter written to Vice Chancellor Mvuyo Tom, the Joice Mujuru-led party objected to the visit.

Sovereign government
ZPF’s interim co-ordinator in South Africa, Builder Lawrence Mavhaire, urged the university to withdraw the invitation, saying that Mugabe has embarrassed former graduates through his alleged human rights abuses.

But, an angry Charamba lambasted the ZPF, saying that the party meant nothing to them.

“South Africa should not listen to opposition parties. Those have no jurisdiction over South Africa. The South African government is the one to make that decision. No opposition party would tell a sovereign government who to invite or not invite,” Charamba said.

However, South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe confirmed that Mugabe would be amongst the dignitaries at the celebrations.

Radebe said on Wednesday that as a graduate of the university, which opened in 1916, Mugabe would be joined by President Jacob Zuma and other yet-to-be announced African leaders.

Zuma was expected to deliver the keynote address and Mugabe would speak as an alumnus.

The university was originally known as the South African Native College. Many of the country’s political elite, such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi studied there. Others included artist Ernest Mancoba and poet Dennis Brutus. – News24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Ithala fails to act against board chairperson over PPE scandal

Morar asked to settle with the state and pay back the profit he made on an irregular tender

Vodacom swindled out of more than R24m worth of iPhones

A former employee allegedly ran an intricate scam to steal 8700 phones from the cellular giant

More top stories

Judicial Conduct Committee orders Mogoeng to apologise for his remarks...

The JCC said that by the chief justice straying into politics, he breached the judicial conduct code and ordered him to issue an apology and retraction

Millers pay for duty-free wheat quota

The South African Revenue Services didn’t gazette the EU quota rates for about month, with no reasons given – and then suddenly published them

Austerity budget unpacked

The finance minister has said it’s not an austerity project. But the numbers and economists disagree

Will job creation schemes fix the unemployment crisis?

Experts say there is no evidence yet to show that government-funded employment schemes work long term

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…