SA calls for lifting of Zim sanctions ahead of unity govt

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cape Town - The South African government has joined African Union (AU) calls to the international community for economic sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted.

"An important element at the AU Summit was the expectation and call to the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe to allow all leaders to give the formation of a unity government a chance to succeed.

"People in Zimbabwe will also more likely support the peace process if they can see a number of positive spin-offs happening," Foreign Affairs Director General Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba told media, Tuesday.

The DG highlighted that South Africa was calling for the sanctions to be lifted as it would facilitate, in particular, the inflow of much needed humanitarian aid into Zimbabwe in a crucial political time for that country.

With regard to recent media reports about Zimbabwe taking over the Rand as its currency, the DG said these reports should be considered as a possibility as the debate on this issue has been ongoing for some time.

"If this becomes the case, I'm sure all sorts of precautionary agreements will be entered in to.

"If it were to move towards that, the South African authorities would obviously have to enter into serious dialogue with Zimbabwe authorities," Dr Ntsaluba said.

The DG confirmed that Zimbabwe's political parties are sticking to the framework for the formation of a unity government, as set out by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the swearing in of the prime minister and deputy prime minister will be taking place on Wednesday.

President Kgalema Motlanthe, addressing National Assembly on Tuesday said: "we are heartened at the recognition from this house that there is progress in Zimbabwe. Shortly, Morgan Tsvangirai will be sworn in as the Prime Minister in Zimbabwe along with two deputy prime ministers.

"To this end, SADC and the AU have called on the international community to end sanctions against Zimbabwe and to assist the people," the president announced.

The DG said Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is likely to travel to Zimbabwe to represent South Africa at the swearing in ceremony on Wednesday, while President Motlanthe will travel to Zimbabwe on Friday for the swearing in of Zimbabwe's minister and deputy ministers.