Govt to consider two invitations to Zimbabwe

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pretoria - In the interest of maintaining unity in Zimbabwe, the South African Government is considering inviting both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the inauguration of President-elect Jacob Zuma.

Briefing the media on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Director General Ayanda Ntsaluba said since the inauguration is a ceremonial event; protocol dictates that only Head of States should be invited however, the issue of Zimbabwe was still being discussed.

Both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai agreed earlier this year to form a unity government which saw them sharing the positions of president and prime minister.

"South Africa has been involved in the talks that led to the formation of that country's unity government, so we are still discussing whether to invite both the president and the prime minister," Mr Ntsaluba said.

He further said security forces will be on high alert following threats that there are plans to boycott Mr Mugabe's presence at the event.

"There are no special arrangements made for President Mugabe but we believe there is enough security to deal with anything that may arise," said Mr Ntsaluba.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping and United Nations Deputy Secretary, Asha-Rose Migiro are among those who have confirmed their attendance for Saturday's big event.

Also on the guest list are former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and former Mozambican President Jaquim Chissano.

Mr Ntsaluba said the African National Congress has also extended invitations to various liberation movements on the continent.