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South Africa Minister Urges Zimbabweans to Resolve Serious Economic, Political Problems

South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor

A South African minister says Zimbabwe’s social, economic and political problems can be addressed by local people being helped by the international community, instead of having the Southern African Community (SADC) only focusing on targeted sanctions imposed by the West on some Zanu PF officials.

Speaking at a symposium in Pretoria focusing on problems bedeviling Zimbabwe, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said sustainable solutions to the country’s problems should emanate from Zimbabwe.

"There are complex challenges in Zimbabwe to be resolved by people of Zimbabwe with nations of the SADC. Sustainable solutions to come from Zimbabwe … We know there are serious and seemingly intractable political factors that might need attention, in fact, that need attention if solutions are to be effective or implementable. The political formations in Zimbabwe remain at loggerheads and have apparent deep antipathy toward each other which makes joint decision-making and planning extremely difficult."

Pandor said SADC calls for the removal of targeted sanctions by USA, Britain and their allies won’t resolve issues affecting Zimbabwe, which has been ruled by Zanu PF since the nation attained independence from British rule in 1980.

“It seems clear as we support the call for an end of economic sanctions that the political dynamics that we observe are inextricably linked to the economic solutions and thus the politics and the economic as well as the social need to be confronted simultaneously.

We are not going to achieve the economic resolution without resolving the political intractable hostility and lack of … or social conjoining on finding a national solution.”

Speaking at the same symposium on Monday, former Zimbabwean deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara, said the country’s problems stem from its failure to conduct free, fair and credible elections.

“The fundamental problem in Zimbabwe is the issue around the management of our elections. We must help ourselves so that when we go for the elections we have transparent, credible, fair elections where winners are duly congratulated by the losers.”

Zimbabwe’s elections have over the years been disputed by opposition parties, including PF Zapu once led by the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo, the late Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe Unity Movement, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa and several others. Chamisa challenged the presidential election results in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner by the Constitutional Court.

Speaking at the same meeting in Pretoria, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, said indications are that the country is getting a lot of support from the SADC region in terms of calling for the removal of targeted sanctions imposed by the West.

“… I think there is a very strong message of solidarity that is coming out from here … You know one of the effects of the sanctions is into denying Zimbabwe access to financial resources, credit facilities, and we think one way in which SADC can help is create facilities in which Zimbabwe can be able to access financial resources at affordable rates.”

The Southern African Development Community recently helped Zimbabwe in staging public protests against the sanctions in various nations, calling for their removal.

Benedict Nhlapho contributed to this article edited by Gibbs Dube

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