Thursday, November 16, 2017

SADC Envoys in Zimbabwe for Mediation Talks Between President Mugabe and Military at State House in Harare
President says he must serve out his term until 2018

16 NOVEMBER 2017 - 07:56
South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The South African delegation to Zimbabwe is meeting with the country’s defence force and President Robert Mugabe, Communications Minister Mmamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane told reporters in Parliament on Thursday.

The government has denied reports that the envoys - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo - were turned away.

President Jacob Zuma has said he has spoken to Mugabe, who was confined to his home but was “fine”.

She was briefing reporters on the outcome of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “Cabinet supports the intervention by President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as chair of Sadc in response to the Zimbabwean situation.”

She said Zuma would brief Angolan President João Lourenço, who is the current chair of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ for politics, defence and security.

Mapisa-Nqakula and Bongo arrived in Harare on Wednesday evening. They left the Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria at 6pm and landed shortly after 7.30pm.

Zuma dispatched them in his capacity as Sadc chairman.

The pair have been tasked with holding talks with the besieged 93-year-old leader and Zimbabwean army generals‚ who have so far denied their military takeover on Wednesday morning was a coup.

Zimbabwe’s military seized power on Wednesday‚ saying it was holding Mugabe and his family safe while targeting "criminals" around him.

A Sadc statement said Zuma had called for a meeting of the Sadc Organ Troika and the chairman of the Sadc Council of Ministers to discuss the unfolding political and security situation in Zimbabwe.

The meeting is expected to be held in Gaborone‚ Botswana‚ on Thursday.

"The meeting will be attended by the ministers responsible for foreign or external affairs from the Sadc Organ Troika member states‚ namely‚ Angola‚ Tanzania and Zambia‚ plus the Sadc Council chairperson‚ who is the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation for South Africa (Maite Nkoana-Mashabane)‚" Sadc said.

Sources with knowledge of the situation said the envoys were on a fact-finding mission and would not mediate in talks between the governing party Zanu (PF) and the ZDF.

Zuma has called for "calm and restraint" and for the ZDF to ensure "peace and stability are not undermined".

Meanwhile‚ African Union (AU) Commission chairman Moussa Faki has thrown his weight behind Zuma on the Zimbabwean crisis.

In a statement‚ Faki expressed the commitment of the AU to "working closely with Sadc and the leaders of the region‚ and to support their efforts".

"In this regard‚ the AU associates itself with the statement made by President Jacob Zuma of SA on behalf of Sadc‚" he said.

President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler and balking at mediation by a Catholic priest to allow the 93-year-old former guerrilla a graceful exit after a military coup, sources said on Thursday.

A political source who spoke to senior allies holed up with Mugabe and his wife, Grace, in his lavish “Blue House” Harare compound said Mugabe had no plans to resign voluntarily ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

“It’s a sort of stand-off, a stalemate,” the source said. “They are insisting the president must finish his term.”

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