His acceptance and praise for the new ambassador is a slap in the face of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who had sought nullification of his appointment saying it had been improperly done by President Robert Mugabe.
MDC-T had asked South Africa, the United Nations and other European countries to ignore envoys unilaterally appointed by President Robert Mugabe last year. Tsvangirai has since filed a court petition to challenge the appointments but Mugabe’s lawyers dismissed the application saying Mugabe as the President could not be sued.
Zuma also received letters of credence from heads of missions of Lithuania, Malta, Zambia, Jordan, Eritrea, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Trindad and Tobago and the European Union.
The South African government news website BuaNews said Zuma “had a particularly warm welcome for Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa.”
“Zuma said he and Mphoko had worked very closely together in the past and he had the opportunity to witness the new ambassador’s diplomatic skills,” the publication said.
The South African leader said it was important for the political problems in Zimbabwe be speedily resolved and hoped that Mpoko would provide greater insight into the challenges.
Zuma’s conduct has also been criticised by the biggest opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance, which said he had undermined his mediation role in Zimbabwe.
MDC-T argues that in terms of the Global Political Agreement, which Zuma wants the three governing parties to respect and fully implement, does not allow Mugabe to make unilateral decisions.