When Parliament re-convenes on Tuesday 6th May 2008, I intend to move a
motion calling for a debate on the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe, and
more specifically, probing President Mbeki and the South African
government’s distinct lack of action on the matter.
On the 25th April 2008, during a deputation to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs in Pretoria, I presented a representative of Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma with a letter detailing a series of Democratic Alliance (DA)
proposals to help bring about an end the post-election violence and
political stalemate in Zimbabwe.
In the document, we proposed that the South African government give
Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF government a fixed period to comply with the following
.1.)Â Â Â Â That the presidential election results be immediately released;
.2.)Â Â Â Â That state-sponsored or -supported political violence come to an
.3.)Â Â Â Â That the government accept the deployment of a joint AU-UN mission
to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe, and prevent the recurrence of violence
.4.)Â Â Â Â That, if all parties accept the released results, and the
opposition MDC candidate is declared the victor in the presidential
election, this result be fully accepted and complied with.
.5.)Â Â Â Â That, if it became necessary to contest a run-off election, and
this were accepted by all parties, such a run-off proceed without further
.6.)Â Â Â Â That a run-off election be monitored by officials and observers
from SADC, the African Union, and the United Nations;
.7.)Â Â Â Â And lastly, that local, regional, and international media be
allowed to operate in Zimbabwe throughout this period, free from any form of
harassment or intimidation.
If the Zimbabwean government failed to meet these demands, we proposed that
South Africa pursue more stringent measures – such as imposing targeted
travel and financial sanctions on ZANU-PF’s ruling elite, calling for an
international arms embago on the country, and condemning publicly both
President Mugabe and his government for their refusal to adhere to the
mandate of the Zimbabwean people.
Yet despite having received these proposals, and regardless of the
overwhelming number of continued calls from regional and international
bodies and political leaders for South Africa to take a principled and
decisive stance on this urgent matter, our government – following the
example of President Mbeki’s unrelenting denialism – has yet to respond to
the crisis in any significant way.
To add insult to injury, we now know from reports in the media that
President Mbeki not only endorsed the effort by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to
procure a massive cache of arms and ammunition from China, but that Mbeki
instructed the Ministry of Defence and the National Conventional Arms
Control Committee (NCACC) to allow the arms transfer to continue unhindered
if the Chinese ship containing these weapons were to dock at Durban Harbour.
This move – a morally bankrupt one, which would have further contributed to
the violent suppression of the Zimbabwean people by the military and the
police there – is further evidence that President Mbeki can no longer be
considered a credible mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. The President’s
actions also highlight the need for the executive to be brought to account
for its actions in Parliament.
The South African president’s mooted move, therefore, to send a team of
observers to Zimbabwe to verify MDC claims that Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF is
waging a violent campaign against opposition supporters, could not possibly
be considered a credible or reliable one. Rather – as the DA has proposed in
its recommendations to the Foreign Affairs Minister – a team of observers
under the auspices of the African Union, the United Nations, or both, should
be deployed to Zimbabwe immediately to monitor the situation there.
Statement issued by Sandra Botha MP, DA parliamentary leader, May 4 2008Post published in: Opinions