Media were invited to take photographs and film the leaders, but were barred from asking questions.
In a statement released before the meeting, the South African presidency said Mugabe and Zuma would engage on a number of issues ahead of the SA Development Community Summit and the summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and SADC.
The South African government is hosting the Second Tripartite COMESA-EAC-SADC Summit in Sandton this weekend.
Southern African leaders would also meet on Saturday evening to lay out a roadmap for elections in Zimbabwe, reportedly amid warnings of rising violence and intimidation.
Zuma’s foreign policy adviser Lindiwe Zulu told the media that he and Mugabe would focus only on the mediation process leading to elections.
Asked about recent criticisms of her by Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party, Zulu said Zuma had confidence in her efforts to do her job as a mediator.
Asked if the June 13 sentencing of 87-year-old South African farmer Philip Hapelt for illegally farming the land on which he was born near Gweru would be raised, Zulu said: “The only issues that will be raised are issues for this summit.”
French news agency Agence France Presse reported that SADC members would consider a report by its security “troika”, which at an earlier meeting in Zambia lashed out at Mugabe over his failure to make reforms which would pave the way for elections. AP