SA urged to stop protecting dictator Robert Mugabe


    The Zimbabwe chapter of the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance (SACFA) said in an open letter to South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe this week, that the South African government “appears to go out of their way to prop up the (Mugabe) administration in Zimbabwe.”

    “We know of no dictator who has relinquished his position voluntarily and without pressure. Hitler needed the combined military forces of the free
    world to remove him: the people of South Africa through their concerted actions convinced F W de Klerk of his untenable position. There are
    numerous other examples,” the letter reads.

    It continues: “As far as Rhodesia was concerned, South Africa was vital in paving the way for majority rule and they still hold the key to proper governance in this country thirty plus years later.”

    The letter details how the former Thabo Mbeki administration has covered up the true state of affairs in Zimbabwe, by not making public a report on 2002 elections, deemed ‘free and fair’ by South Africa.

    The letter says that South Africa “actively participates in what appears to be a devious scheme hatched by the Justice Ministry in Harare to preclude the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal from delivering any further rulings which are deeply critical of Zimbabwe government actions.”

    The regional Tribunal was suspended by SADC leaders this year, in what critics said was an effort to appease Mugabe. The Tribunal ruled in 2008 that Mugabe’s land grab campaign was unlawful, and the court ordered the regime to compensate farmers for stolen land and protect farms from further illegal land seizure. But despite the government completely ignoring the Tribunal’s orders, SADC leaders, including South Africa, have instead moved to ‘review’ the role and mandate of the human rights court, effectively shutting it down.

    “Blindly they allow themselves to be swayed by the blandishments and rhetoric of a cunning and crafty regime in Harare which has gained notoriety for abusing any means, reneging on any promises, to prolong its stay in office,” SACFA Chairman Chris Jarrett said in the letter.

    Jarrett also wrote that the persistent refusal by both governments to honour Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPA), should be “an embarrassment” to South Africa. A number of South African owned farms in Zimbabwe have been violently seized by Mugabe loyalists in recent months, despite the BIPPA signed by both governments. The South African government however has made no comment about these illegal actions and has taken no action against Zimbabwe for clearly violating this pact.

    “It is obviously in South Africa’s enlightened self interest that they stop the rot in Zimbabwe from progressing any further,” Jarrett wrote adding: “We are not suggesting that your country sends in troops to force this regime to relinquish power; the pressure we ask your government to exert is much simpler than that.”

    SACFA urged the South African authorities, “to use its unique position  to ensure two things: that SADC send roving observers backed by fearless
    reporters at least six months before polling date to ensure that there is no violence and fair play is seen to be the order of the day.” The group also urged the South Africans “to make it abundantly clear that if the election is not contested according to the standards set by SADC, then SADC and the AU will not recognise the result.”

    Jarrett told SW Radio Africa on Friday that South Africa is the only country in the region that wields the power to force the Mugabe regime to abide by its promises, as outlined in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

    “We are just asking them to abide by the basic principles that govern the region, govern bilateral agreements, cover any respected government in the world,” Jarrett said. “It is their responsibility to ensure the next elections reflect these principles and are free and fair.”