South African President urged to act against Robert Mugabe

"Looking at the situation in Zimbabwe, one cannot help but challenge the government of South Africa to consider seriously the humanitarian crisis faced by the Zimbabwean people in Musina and act decisively on it," the bishop said.

He added that he had previously called upon both the government and the SADC to take tougher action against Mugabe.

"However, no action has been taken by the political leaders of our country to protect the Zimbabwean nationals within our borders.

"Yet people continue to be detained without trial, and to die of diseases of impoverishment such as cholera."

The conditions under which the Zimbabweans found themselves could no longer be tolerated, Seoka said.

"As a spiritual leader and the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria, I challenge my own government first, to send a delegation on a fact-finding mission that will inform and empower us to act decisively to rescue the innocent nationals of Zimbabwe, both in their country, and in such places as Musina, where they are being treated to a fate worse than animals."

He said it was tragic to learn that one of the observers in the area (as reported in the Mail and Guardian) noted that even his dogs did not live under the conditions to which the Zimbabwean nationals were being subjected.

The bishop added that SA had to now consider sending a peacekeeping force to Zimbabwe, to protect civilians, "particularly those who are human rights advocates, such as Jestina Mukoko, who was abducted and molested".

He also called upon SA to stop supplying electricity and water to Zimbabwe, "simply because these amenities have become accessible only to Mugabe and his cronies, and not the poor who are evidently dying of starvation and thirst".

Seoka said it was the right of SA citizens to speak out on such matters, "as it is our tax which subsidises the supply of these amenities".

He added that should peacekeeping fail, "we must, as a country, call upon our President, Kgalema Motlanthe, to exercise his responsibility as the chair of Southern African Development Community (SADC), to mobilise SADC forces to go to Zimbabwe as peacemakers". – Sapa