"We want to urge the leaders of the world to leave sanctions and open up the lines of credit and let the people of Zimbabwe take full control of their lives," she said at a press briefing in Cape Town.

"We need to give peace and development a chance in Zimbabwe."

A recent trip by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the United States and Europe showed the commitment of the Zimbabweans to work together to "come out of this".

The US, which initially wanted to do nothing about Zimbabwe, was now listening to the pleas of Tsvangirai.

"We think this is a good start," she said.

"Several countries have come back to help Zimbabwe. We continue to encourage the international community to come to the party."

Tsvangirai met US President Barack Obama in Washington last week and was given $73-million in aid. Western countries are concerned that Tsvangirai’s rival, President Robert Mugabe, is not committed enough to political reforms.

Tsvangirai wants $8.5-billion in aid to revive the economy and the civil service. Norway and Germany have both promised to grant millions of dollars in aid to Zimbabwe.

Nkoana-Mashabane said she would "reiterate" Tsvangirai’s pleas for aid when she meets with the United States’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week.

"I hope to reiterate the message of Prime Minister Tsvangirai in that meeting," she said. (Sapa)