SA calls on Zimbabweans to participate in referendum

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pretoria - Cabinet has urged Zimbabwean citizens to participate in that country’s referendum to help pave the way for holding peaceful and credible elections in Zimbabwe.

The referendum, scheduled for 16 March, will indicate whether or not Zimbabweans accept a draft constitution.

If it passes the referendum, the draft will replace the current constitution, which was crafted in London ahead of that country's independence from Britain in 1980.

Indications are that the majority of Zimbabweans will vote in favour of the draft since all the major parties are urging their supporters to accept it.

The three political parties represented in the legislature -- Mugabe's Zanu-PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's larger Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the smaller MDC whose leadership is under dispute between Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube --  have endorsed the draft.

According to the power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed by the now governing parties in 2008 following inconclusive elections the same year, fresh elections must be held after the country makes a new constitution.

Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said the executive commended President Jacob Zuma’s efforts towards the full implementation of the GPA in his role as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator of the Zimbabwe Political Dialogue.

“The completion of the constitutional process creates conducive conditions for a referendum,” Williams said, adding that the South African government fully supported and wanted to see the full implementation of the GPA.

With regards to the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cabinet commended the participation of South Africa in the signing of the Peace, Security and Co-operation Framework.

The framework creates a regional oversight mechanism to review implementation of the commitments that regional states have made towards peace in the region. -