Madagascar peace deal: at last, a South African diplomatic victory

By Simon Allison 19 September 2011

It’s been a tough year for our diplomats who’ve weathered a storm of criticism over Cote D’Ivoire, Libya and most recently, the foreign minister’s costly refusal to scan her handbag at airport security. But finally some good news: after long months of tough negotiations, the squabbling factions of Madagascar signed a historic agreement which just might set that troubled island on the path to normality – and it was mostly our doing. By SIMON ALLISON.

Despite his Sunday afternoon being interrupted, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesman Clayson Monyela sounded happy – relieved, even – to be talking about Madagascar. “It’s a major breakthrough which should be welcomed by all Africans,” he told Daily Maverick. “We think it provides a window of opportunity for that country to move forward and have an election that will produce a government that will be supported by everyone.”

The major breakthrough he was referring to was the agreement signed in Antananarivo on Saturday, which paved the way for elections within a year and the return of all political exiles, including ousted president Marc Ravalomanana. This last issue had been the major sticking point, with current president Andre Rajoelina previously refusing to countenance the return of his archenemy. Its resolution is a significant breakthrough in discussions, and credit for that must go to the experienced SADC mediators and the concerted effort made by the regional body – an effort spearheaded by South Africa – to resolve the Madagascar crisis.

Despite a criminal conviction for murder hanging over his head, stemming from his alleged treatment of opposition demonstrators during his rule, Ravalomana will likely return from his exile in South Africa within a few weeks, according to Monyela. “That issue is part of the package,” said Monyela.

A good day at the office for South Africa’s diplomats, who’ve been working hard on the Madagascar issue for months; the signing of the final agreement was overseen by Dirco deputy minister Marius Fransman. Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane apparently wanted to be there, but couldn’t find a way to get her handbag through airport security. DM

Read more:

  • Statement of the SADC Troika on Madagascar via AllAfrica;
  • Madagascar leaders sign deal for elections on BBC News.

Anti-riot police block supporters of Madagascar’s exiled leader Marc Ravalomanana demonstrating on the road leading to the airport in Antananarivo February 19, 2011. Madagascar’s security forces fired teargas to disperse crowds of supporters of the former president camped out near the capital’s international airport on Saturday and expecting his return. REUTERS/Faniry Clarel Rasoanaivo


Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.


Julius Malema, a forever ten percent man?

By Stephen Grootes

"Whatever the cost of our libraries the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation." ~ Walter Cronkite