SA has failed Zimbabwe:  Analysts  

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Sindiso Mhlophe

ANALYSTS have said the South African government’s foreign policy based on politics of solidarity and a brotherly stance has failed Zimbabwe which is on the brink of collapse, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst socio-economic crisis in a decade characterised by hyperinflation, foreign and local currency shortages, fuel shortages and soaring prices of basic goods and services.
Speaking during an online dialogue on South Africa’s policy towards Zimbabwe on Thursday, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) chief executive Elizabeth Sidoroupolos said the southern Africa economic powerhouse needed a policy shift to focus on condemning human rights, corruption, bad governance and encouraging genuine reforms in order to truly assist Zimbabwe end its crises.
“South Africa has failed Zimbabwe. This is because it has chosen stability over democracy, human rights and greater accountability. One might argue that South Africa, through (former president Thabo) Mbeki, managed to bring political parties together and form a government of national unity (GNU) in 2008 which brought some form of stability.
“However, the GNU did not solve the country’s major problems which include corruption, human rights violations and bad governance. It only provided relief for a few years and in 2013 things gradually started returning to what they were like in the past,” Sidoroupolos said.
She further said that instead of speaking truth to power, South Africa’s government was focused on calling for the removal of sanctions rather than pushing Zimbabwe to address the real issues which resulted in the embargoes.
“If there was a time for South Africa to improve its foreign policy towards Zimbabwe, it is now. We don’t want another Cabo Delgado because the situation in Zimbabwe is ripe for conflict. Even though we support the removal of sanctions, we cannot ignore that Zimbabwe’s economic problems are a direct result of the politics. Political turmoil is what is driving economic instability,” she said.
Sidoroupolos indicated that in addition to calling for the removal of sanctions, the South African government should call for genuine political reforms, observance of human rights and the rule of law.
“Yes, South Africa is the bigger neighbour, but we don’t have all the problems. The government needs to implement sound economic and political reforms in order to convince the international community to lift the sanctions and rebuild relations.
“2017 presented a new era for the government to reform, however, President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has failed to implement the necessary reforms and has instead turned the State into a military regime. South Africa has been careful not to bruise egos, but sometimes egos have to be bruised for things to move forward,” Sidoroupolos said.
Another South Africa- based political analyst Linda Freeman said the country’s foreign policy towards Zimbabwe was that of never straying away from what the ruling Zanu PF has presented as the truth, while completely avoiding holding leaders to account.

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