South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged President Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress (ANC) government to speak out on the unfolding civil unrest in Zimbabwe.
DA International Relations and Co-operation shadow minister, Stevens Mokgalapa said Zuma could not remain silent if South Africa was to play its part to mitigate the escalating unrest in Zimbabwe.
“The quiet diplomacy of the past cannot be allowed to repeat itself and, as history has shown, has the potential to allow for human rights violations to persist,” he said.
“The situation in Zimbabwe appears to be the result of a shortage of resources – food and cash – as well as dissatisfaction with the administration of President Robert Mugabe. We call on Zuma – as a leader in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region – and International Relations and Co-operation minister, Maite Nkoane-Mashabane to break their silence and condemn the atrocities currently being carried out in Zimbabwe.”
Mokgalapa said Zuma must give effect to South Africa’s human rights-based foreign policy to ensure that no more human rights abuses occur on the country’s watch.
Our government’s silence in this regard will make us complicit in the escalation of the use of force against civilians,” the DA official warned.
“South Africa’s most recent track record on human rights on the international stage has left a lot to be desired and it is time for us to step up and restore our commitment to human rights.”
Mokgalapa said the time was ripe to find a solution that would ensure that the will of the people in Zimbabwe prevailed and also the upholding of democratic principles and constitutionalism.
“Furthermore, the situation in Zimbabwe should serve as a wakeup call for the South African government that, without sound economic policies and a caring government, the people will suffer and their dissatisfaction will only be silenced for so long,” the shadow minister said.
“Zimbabwe, like many other African nations, helped South Africa in its fight for freedom and democracy. We have a duty to ensure that Zimbabwe finds legitimate freedom and democracy.”