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South Africa President to Send Special Envoys to 'Politically Troubled' Zimbabwe

FILE: Cyril Ramaphosa is cheered by Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete, left, after being elected President in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 15, 2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has appointed special envoys to Zimbabwe expected to assess the political situation in the country following reports of a crackdown on civic society leaders and opposition supporters, who recently organized an anti-corruption protest, which was crushed by state security agents.

In a statement on Twitter, Ramaphosa said former Local Government and Security Minister Dr. Sydney Mufamadi and former Deputy President Baleka Mbete are expected to leave for Zimbabwe as soon as all the arrangements are made.

He said he appointed the two “following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing.”

They are expected to engage the government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders “to identify possible ways in which South Africa can assist Zimbabwe.”

Between 1999 and 2008, Dr. Sydney Mufamadi was the former Minister of Provincial and Local Government. In 1994, after South Africa’s first democratic elections, he was appointed Minister of Safety and Security in the Government of National Unity – a position he held until 1999.

Ms. Baleka Mbete is also the former Speaker of the National Assembly and former Chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The Zimbabwean government has arrested over 60 political activists following attempts by various groups to stage natiowide anti-corruption protests on July 31.

The government said the planned protests were laced with a regime-change agenda.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says disgruntled Zimbabweans are being used by the West to revolt against his government.

Independent economic commentators say the southern African nation has an estimated unemployment rate of up to 90 percent. But the government insists that people in the informal sector are also gainfully employed.

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