Zanu PF and Mugabe not my comrades any more – Zuma

JOHANNESBURG – Jacob Zuma says he can no longer call Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe "comrades", and thinks pressure should be brought on them to effect change in Zimbabwe. And the ANC bemoans the effect of the Zimbabwean cholera outbreak on South African resources. The party said yesterday: "The time for hoping for change must come to an end.

Neither the people of South Africa nor the people of Zimbabwe deserve the devastation that the political deadlock is creating." While Zuma is still against regime change or military intervention, he told the ANC national executive committee’s closed meeting that the party’s liberation ties with Zanu PF would be strained by the regime’s actions.

The ANC president said the "right pressure" should be applied to Mugabe and Zanu PF. Zuma said inasmuch as he could no longer call former ANC members who joined the Congress of the People "comrades", he also could not call the Zimbabwean ruling party and its leaders "comrades".

Zuma said the humanitarian crisis, including the cholera epidemic, had prompted him to take a tough stance. He was delivering his political report to the NEC meeting, the last this year, in Kempton Park. Although the media statement was later watered down to avoid diplomatic ructions, the ANC came out strongly against the Zimbabwean government.

"The NEC discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and the dire straits of its people, as well as the impact of the situation in Zimbabwe on the plight of South Africans, particularly those living in Musina and other border towns.

The reality of the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is affecting our own population, and the lack of facilities in Musina, where hundreds of people are escaping the disease and seeking much-needed healthcare, is fast stressing the capability of our own health institutions," the ANC said.

"The reported cases of abductions and detentions without trial (in Zimbabwe) test the very fabric of the liberation we fought for in this region of Africa. We call on the political leaders in Zimbabwe to stop the infighting and put the (country’s)
people first," the ANC said.

Party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said they would "step up engagement with the parties there". He said the ANC had had a "face-to-face" meeting with Zanu PF a fortnight ago, as well as regular communications by phone.

Meanwhile, Sapa reports that the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said mediation in Zimbabwe’s crisis had failed, and SA must now force Mugabe to step down. "We are deeply saddened that, after eight years of mediation, all the talks have borne no fruit," it said in a statement.

Mugabe was "clearly willing" to watch his people die of starvation and cholera as long as he was able to retain his 28-year hold on power. The South African government has the capacity to force Mugabe to go. All that is lacking is the political will. We are extremely disappointed at the inability of SADC (Southern African development Community) leadership,
including SA’s new president, Kgalema Motlanthe, to make any headway." SOURCE: The Star (SA)