SA unmoved by ‘contrived’ diplomatic row

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HARARE – South Africa remains unmoved by Zanu PF’s constant goading of President Jacob Zuma in their futile bid to stump his impartial mediation in Zimbabwe’s perennial political crisis.

A highly-placed source in Pretoria said yesterday that Zuma and the South African government were “well aware” that the provocations by elements in Zanu PF were meant to derail Pretoria’s efforts to mitigate “the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe”.

“Everyone here has taken note of the unprovoked insults and provocations by some leaders of Zanu PF which are all meant to derail President Zuma’s even-handed mediation of the political crisis in Zimbabwe, as well as South Africa’s efforts to assist Zimbabweans. It is an act of desperation ahead of the July 31 elections,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

“This is clearly why President Zuma has taken the deliberate, pragmatic and wise decision to diffuse the contrived diplomatic row between Harare and Pretoria which is meant to confuse issues and to derail President Zuma’s mediation.

“Sadly for these anarchists (in Zanu PF), this won’t work. We will not give them any excuses for the problems that are threatening the democratisation process as the elections loom. These anarchists must know however, that they will soon have to account for their actions.”

The official spoke as President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were ratcheting up their attacks on Zuma and his trusted international relations adviser, Lindiwe Zulu — threatening to ignite a full-scale diplomatic row between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Mugabe tore into Zuma at a political rally in Matabeleland at the weekend — comparing him scathingly and derisively to his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, and accusing him of taking too much of a back seat in his role as a facilitator to the Zimbabwean crisis. He also, once again, lashed at Zulu.

Earlier this month, Mugabe referred to Zulu as a “stupid and idiotic street woman”, further calling on Zuma to rein her in — prompting the South African leader to try and defuse the row on Sunday.

Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj said: “We realise that Zimbabwe has just a few days to go before the elections and we want to assure that no future incident will arise … Statements with regard to the election process will only come from President Zuma”.

He said Mugabe’s concerns had not been on the agenda of the meeting of Sadc’s Troika that was held in Pretoria on Saturday.

“No questions arose over the removal of any of President Zuma’s technical facilitation team … no investigation is being conducted,” Maharaj said.

“There was a simple question … did anyone make a statement out of turn; has the statement caused any problems; are these problems such that they deflect from the real issues Zimbabwe faces? Our statement is intended to remove this (contention) from the table,” Maharaj said.

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