SA ready to assist Zimbabwe if requested, govt says

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor. FILE PHOTO: : Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA

The minister says it remains South Africa’s resolve to continue the pursuit for consultative solutions to address the existing socio-economic challenges and to contribute to the wellbeing of all Zimbabweans.

International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Naledi Pandor has told her Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Sibusiso Moyo, that South Africa is ready to assist the latter’s country “if requested”.

Dirco said the South African government “has noted with concern” reports of “human rights violations” in Zimbabwe.

This amid growing reports of alleged human rights violations in the country, prompting the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter social movement, which aims to bring the issue to the forefront. Several Zimbabwean journalists and activists have been arrested, allegedly abducted or beaten in recent weeks after they either spoke out against alleged corruption or were critical of the Zanu-PF-led government.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday warned he would “flush out” political opponents as rights groups reported dozens of activists had been arrested in a crackdown.

Mnangagwa, who took over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a coup in November 2017, said his administration was facing “many hurdles and attacks” including “divisive politics of some opposition elements”.

Dirco said on Thursday that Pandor and Moyo are in contact and that, as recent as Tuesday, the former told the latter during a telephonic conversation that South Africa was ready to assist Zimbabwe if requested to do so.

“Minister Pandor reiterated South Africa’s commitment to peace and stability in the region and the African Continent.

“She stated that it remains South Africa’s resolve to continue the pursuit for consultative solutions to address the existing socio-economic challenges and to contribute to the wellbeing of all Zimbabweans, the people of the SADC Region and Africans at large.”

Former DA leader and One South Africa founder Mmusi Maimane has written to International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor calling for her to issue a démarche against Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa David Hamadziripi.

In a letter he posted on Twitter, Maimane said the purpose of the political initiative should be to demand a full explanation of the human rights crisis facing Zimbabwe and a commitment to end the atrocities.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu. Additional reporting, AFP and News24Wire)

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