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South African Team Arrives in Zimbabwe to Prepare Ground for Zuma Crisis Mediation

Advance team member Lindiwe Zulu, a foreign policy adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma, said her team will meet with negotiators for the three parties sharing power in Zimbabwe's unity government

South African facilitators arrived in Zimbabwe Monday and opened talks with negotiators for ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change formations ahead of President Jacob Zuma arrival Tuesday to try to end the impasse within the power-sharing government.

Facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Zuma, told VOA Studio 7 that her team met with negotiators Monday evening and heard their positions on the continuing political impasse.

Zulu said Mr. Zuma will meet with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara during his three day visit through Thursday.

In Pretoria the Web site of the South African presidency posted a statement saying Mr. Zuma’s visit reflected the commitment of the Southern African Development Community to see the Global Political Agreement implemented.

Divisions in the Harare government have deepened lately with President Mugabe’s recent reshuffling of ministerial portfolios shifting various powers from MDC ministers to those of his ZANU-PF party.

Zuma spokesman Vincent Magwenya told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that his boss will press all of the unity government parties to seek agreement on the numerous issues left outstanding when the GPA was signed in September 2008 or which have accumulated since the government's formation in early 2009.

"President Zuma's visit is in line with a directive from SADC that South Africa continues its facilitation in Zimbabwe aimed at assisting all the parties to remove all the obstacles towards the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement," Magwenya said.

Sources in the MDC formation led by Mr. Tsvangirai said the party will tell Mr. Zuma that new, violence-free elections should be held in 2011 if the numerous issues plaguing the government can't be resolved.

Political analyst Samukele Hadebe said Mr. Zuma must be tough with all of the governing political parties if he is to secure concessions and come to a solution.

"If President Zuma does not apply due pressure on the governing partners, then his impact will be minimal. He really has to push hard for a solution," Hadebe said.