SA opposition to exert pressure on Mbeki to ditch quiet diplomacy

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 August 2007

The opposition Democratic Alliance party in South Africa has vowed to continue pushing President Thabo Mbeki to ditch his ‘quiet diplomacy’ on Zimbabwe, because it has failed.

Mark Lowe, the Home Affairs spokesman for the DA told Newsreel there was enough evidence to prove Mbeki’s mediation efforts have been a total disaster.

‘The reason why South Africa is now home to millions of Zimbabwean refugees is a clear example of Mbeki’s failure. We are also calling upon the government to set up refugee camps to cater for people who are running away from this evil government in Zimbabwe,’ Lowe said.

Lowe pointed out that the situation is so serious that the United Nations has announced contingency plans for an anticipated refugee crisis, amid estimates that close to three million Zimbabweans are living rough in South Africa.

On Tuesday South Africa’s opposition parties united to deliver a statement in parliament calling on Mbeki to move rapidly to defuse the escalating political crisis in Zimbabwe.

The statement was read out by Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats in Cape Town. The statement immediately received support from the Democratic alliance, the Inkatha freedom party, United Democratic movement, African Christian Democratic party and the Pan Africanist Congress.

Lowe said they joined other opposition parties in condemning the role Mbeki played in failing to reign in Mugabe during the just ended Southern African Development Community summit in Lusaka, Zambia.

‘We are very disappointed SADC leaders missed this opportunity to relieve the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans. But we will continue to put as much pressure on the African National Congress and the Presidency to encourage them to take a serious view of what is happening in Zimbabwe,’ Lowe added.


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