Zim Refugees 'Straining' SA

“South Africa is greatly affected by the crisis in Zimbabwe,” Zuma said in a speech in the Palace of Westminster.

“The influx of economic refugees from Zimbabwe places a significant strain on our capacity and resources and that is why we have consistently sought to follow the path that holds out the greatest prospect of success.”

The political and economic reality of Zimbabwe required an inclusive solution, Zuma said.

“Though some may suggest otherwise, there is no lasting solution in Zimbabwe that excludes Zanu-PF, just as there is no solution that excludes the MDC.

“That is why, as South Africa, as the Southern African Development Community, and as the African Union, we have expended great effort to ensure that the parties in Zimbabwe reach agreement on the most critical issues facing the country.”

Zuma said Zimbabweans had to determine their own future.

“That is why all parties within the country, on the continent, and in the broader international community, must do what they can to ensure the attainment of conditions for free and fair elections.” 

Zuma has been pressing the UK to end sanctions on Zimbabwe but Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was too early as Zimbabwe needed to deal with human rights abuses still occuring in the country. US President George Bush has also extended Zimbabwe sanctions as well as the European Union, both citing similar reasons to Brown’s.

Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government has failed to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) due to disagreements on appointing the country’s attorney general and the reserve bank governor among other things.

The country is also facing a resurgence of violence with fresh farm invasions continuing unabated as well as harassments and intimidation of civic society members, trade union members and journalists. SAPA/Radio VOP