"Zimbabwe could get out of hand" – South African official

"The worst fear of all of us is the petty squabbling and politicking among the leaders will lead to the squandering of resources," Ntsaluba told reporters in Pretoria.


He said the tight time frame of 30 days to settle the disagreement over key posts in implementing the unity government in Zimbabwe was indicative of the impatience felt by regional leaders.


"The fact that there are clear time frames, as tight as they are, it’s a significance of some degree of impatience that the political leaders must not squander what appears to be the opportunity, the only opportunity, to pull it [Zimbabwe] out of the abyss."


Last week at a Southern African Development Community summit it was agreed that Zimbabwe’s leaders would commit to the implementation of the unity government within 30 days.


"The inclusive government essentially is the only game in town," said Ntsaluba.


Some of the "impediments" that had been noted by the SADC ministerial after meeting with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) included the appointment of the reserve bank governor, the attorney-general and provincial governor.


It has also raised concerns that there may be a re-emergence of political instability and the possibility of new land invasions.


Zanu-PF has raised the MDC’s failure to aid in the lifting of sanctions and contestations around the common understanding of the joint power sharing agreement.


Ntsaluba argued however that it was understood that the implementation would not be an easy process.


"The political temperature was a bit higher than normal," he said of the visit to Zimbabwe.


"We are dealing effectively with a fragile process. The levels of trust are not exactly where they should be, dealing with people who were virtually at war," said Ntsaluba.