SADC to meet on Zimbabwe

Johannesburg – Southern African heads of state will meet in Cape Town at the end of March to decide on proposals forwarded on Zimbabwe's economic recovery and the political crisis in Madagascar, the department of foreign affairs said on Sunday.

The summit, on March 30, follows a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting last week at which heads of state expressed concern over what it considers an unconstitutional transfer of power in Madagascar last week, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.

Deciding they needed to take a tougher stance against what they regard as unconstitutional claims to power, one of the proposals is to impose sanctions against Andy Rajoelina and those who helped him force president Marc Ravalomanana’s resignation on Tuesday.

Rajoelina, who was not voted in, was sworn in as president on Saturday, and South Africa has said it will not recognise him as president.

The SADC ministers also discussed urgent ways of dealing with the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, which last week saw President Robert Mugabe and former political foe and present finance minister Tendai Biti issue a joint appeal for $5bn in international aid.

The summit will be hosted by current chairperson of SADC, President Kgalema Motlanthe and will be preceded by the organ’s customary ministerial meeting hosted by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who heads the council of ministers.

SADC council ministers have already made proposals that would assist Zimbabwe on its recovery plan, including a financing mechanism.

Zimbabwe has said it would need about $2bn – $1bn in the form of credit and $1bn in the form of development budget support to get back onto its feet.

The SADC is also keen to get Zimbabwe back into the International Monetary Fund’s good books after it became unable to honour its loan commitments. – SAPA