Mep Attacks Zuma Over Zimbabwe Stance

The attack was made by British Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, as the president appeared in front of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on 29 September 2010.

However President Zuma – who replaced Thabo Mbeki in March 2010 – defended his country’s record.

He told MEPs that South Africa “gave leadership before anyone else did”, and claimed the country had forced Robert Mugabe to tighten specific clauses in Zimbabwe’s constitution, such as on vote counting.

He also urged the international community to lift sanctions to enable the South African Development Community (SADC) to do more to help Zimbabweans.

Also during the evidence session, Belgian nationalist MEP Philip Claes said that more needed to be done to halt the murder of white farmers, claiming that there had been over 3,000 cases since 1994.

British Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson raised concerns over new media laws in South Africa and called on President Zuma to ensure that press freedom was maintained.

The president said he was keen to defend the freedom of the press, but insisted rules were needed to ensure that the press “did not abuse that freedom”.  BBC