ANC in Parliament ready to carry out ICC decision

Cape Town - The ANC in Parliament has welcomed the decision by Cabinet to withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said the party has believed for a long time that the ICC was influenced by non-member states, particularly against the continent of Africa.

"It is our long held view that the ICC has long diverted from its mandate of being an independent and objective instrument in bringing an end to heinous crimes against humanity and the violation of human rights on the African continent," he said in a statement on Friday.

"Instead the ICC has allowed non-member states to dictate and interfere with its work to suit their own imperialist agendas."

Mthembu said the ANC remained committed to the protection and promotion of human rights on the continent and called on the African Union to strengthen its own institutions to deal with human right's violations.

"We are steadfast in our belief that those who have committed crimes against humanity must be prosecuted and punished by an impartial body empowered by international co-operation to defend the universal values of justice."

He said the party is ready to see through the legislative requirements of repealing the Implementation of the Rome Statute once it is tabled by Cabinet.

DA court challenge

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry meanwhile said it is gravely concerned by the withdrawal from the ICC.

"Our country should be a role model for accountability of crimes against innocent people," president Janine Myburgh said on Friday.

She agreed that the majority of cases appearing before the court were African, but said they were referred to the ICC by the countries themselves.

"Are our leaders focused on protecting themselves at the expense of providing a safe and secure environment for all [the country's] citizens?" she asked.

The Democratic Alliance says it will approach the courts to have the government's decision to withdraw from the ICC set aside.

Institute for Security Studies MD Anton du Plessis told News24 earlier the government's decision should have gone through Parliament for ratification first, and that the process was not being conducted legally.

The South African Litigation Centre, which first brought the application to force the government to arrest Sudan President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who is wanted by die ICC, in June last year, said it is disappointed by the government's decision, and will review its legal options on how to proceed with the case.