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SADC was getting impatient with Zimbabwe

The Southern African Development Community was getting impatient with the petty squabbling among Zimbabwe’s political leaders because they feared that this could cause the country to slide back.

This was said by South Africa’s director-general in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Ayanda Ntsaluba.

He said this after SADC leaders and South African President Jacob Zuma had given Zimbabwe’s political leaders a deadline to resolve their issues after the Movement for Democratic Change had pulled out of the inclusive government.

“The fact that there were clear timeframes that were put, and the fact that those timeframes are as tight as they are, is just really a signal of some degree of impatience of the regional leadership around the fact that the political leadership of Zimbabwe must not squander what appears to be the opportunity, perhaps their only opportunity, to pull the country out of the abyss..,” he said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09PRETORIA2312, SOUTH AFRICA FEARS ZIMBABWE MAY BE SLIDING BACK

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09PRETORIA2312

2009-11-13 14:35

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

INFO LOG-00   EEB-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 INL-00   DODE-00 PERC-00

DS-00   EUR-00   FBIE-00 VCI-00   H-00     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     MOFM-00 MOF-00   VCIE-00 DCP-00

NSAE-00 OIC-00   NIMA-00 GIWI-00 PRS-00   P-00     FMPC-00

SP-00   STR-00   NCTC-00 SCRS-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-00

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   FA-00   SWCI-00 PESU-00   /001W

 

P 131435Z NOV 09

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0190

INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY

AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY

AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG PRIORITY

CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 002312

 

 

DEPT FOR AF/S – DIOPM, WALKES, WALCHB

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2019

TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL ZANU SF ZI

SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA FEARS ZIMBABWE MAY BE SLIDING BACK

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Walter N.S. Pflaumer.

Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (U) Summary: During a press conference on November 10,

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)

Director General Dr. Ayanda Ntsaluba said regional leaders

feared Zimbabwe could be sliding back from progress on the

political and humanitarian fronts since the inception of the

inclusive government, which coincides with President Jacob

Zuma’s emergence as facilitator for the next round of

negotiations. Ntsaluba said the “tight” timeframes for

resolution of outstanding issues amongst Zimbabwe’s governing

political parties signaled impatience of the Southern Africa

Development Community (SADC) leaders with the slow pace of

progress in implementing the Global Political Agreement

(GPA). SADC expects the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

to join the call for lifting of sanctions, according to

Ntsaluba. He congratulated the European Union (EU) for

re-engaging with the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ). He also

said the SAG agreed with the Kimberley Process decision not

to suspend Zimbabwe. End summary.

 

————————————–

SADC IMPATIENT WITH ZIMBABWE’S LEADERS

————————————–

 

2. (U) Ntsaluba remarked on what he said was the general

sense that the political and humanitarian situation in

Zimbabwe was beginning to improve under the inclusive

government, but said regional leaders feared that the “petty

squabbling and politicking amongst the leadership of

Zimbabwe” would cause the country to slide back. When asked

about meeting the 30-day deadline for resolving outstanding

issues, he said they could not guarantee the deadline would

be met. He went on to say, “The fact that there were clear

timeframes that were put, and the fact that those timeframes

are as tight as they are, is just really a signal of some

degree of impatience of the regional leadership around the

fact that the political leadership of Zimbabwe must not

squander what appears to be the opportunity, perhaps their

only opportunity, to pull the country out of the abyss…”

 

3. (C) Freedom House Regional Director Karl Beck shared with

Poloff a readout of the SADC Troika meeting in Maputo from

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Legal Advisor

Jacob Mafume. Zuma’s participation in the Troika meeting was

sudden and unexpected, according to Mafume’s understanding.

He said Zuma assumed responsibility for personally

facilitating further implementation of the GPA. He clarified

that former President Thabo Mbeki and his aides Frank Chikane

and Mojanku Gumbi would no longer be involved. (Note: An

aide to South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

confirmed to Ambassador Gips that Zuma is the new SADC

facilitator. End note.) According to what Mafume told Beck,

Zuma told Tsvangirai privately that he was concerned about

Zanu-PF’s capacity to perpetrate violence. Mafume said the

MDC is under the impression that Zuma favors Zanu-PF, but has

lost patience with Mugabe. He said to Beck that the MDC

believes Zuma is frightened about the potential negative

effects on South Africa’s World Cup if Zimbabwe “blows up.”

 

————————————–

SAG SATISFIED WITH MDC’S RE-ENGAGEMENT

————————————–

 

4. (U) Ntsaluba remarked, “We are indeed very happy that the

MDC has gone back to the inclusive government. We are

encouraged by the fact that all the parties in Zimbabwe,

regardless of the differences, communicated very clearly to

the heads of the region that the inclusive government

essentially is the only game in town, and that everything

should be done to make sure that the inclusive government

becomes successful.”

 

——————

CONTENTIOUS ISSUES

——————

 

5. (U) Ntsaluba noted that the delegation to Zimbabwe from

the SADC Organ of Politics, Defense and Security had

recognized that some issues were impeding successful

operation of the inclusive government. He listed the main

issues, beginning with those of the MDC: “the issue of the

governor of the Reserve Bank, attorney general, the

provincial governors and the issue of Roy Bennett, and then

the issue of what was characterized as basically the

re-emergence of, let us say, political insecurity in a sense,

and the issue of possible new land invasions. On the

government’s side, there have been raising a number of

issues. The one issue was of course what they regard as the

non-commitment of the MDC team in particular to the

commitment undertaken to the full lifting of sanctions and

accusations that, therefore, the MDC team has not delivered

on its side of the mandate, of the bargain.” When asked

whether SADC expected the MDC to effect the lifting of

sanctions, Ntsaluba said the MDC alone could not carry that

responsibility. He then reminded the press corps that the

lifting of sanctions was a SADC position, adding, “We would

expect all the parties to be unambiguous in communicating

that view.”

 

6. (U) Ntsaluba mentioned Zanu-PF’s claims of the existence

of a parallel government, which he said refers to support

that the MDC allegedly receives from some international

donors. He noted the fragility of the political process in

Zimbabwe and cautioned the international community to be

sensitive to the possibility of misunderstanding when

providing assistance. He congratulated the EU for its recent

high-level visit to Zimbabwe and meetings with the GOZ. He

said, “As South Africa, we have been really very happy with

the open re-engagement of the European Union and other major

donors formally with the formal structures of the government

of Zimbabwe, so that we can cross this barrier of a suspicion

that the rest of the international community wants to support

only one faction of the government, because that is not

conducive to any effective functioning of a cabinet

collective.”

 

—————————————

PLEASED WITH KIMBERLEY PROCESS DECISION

—————————————

 

7. (U) Ntsaluba described the November 2-5 meeting of the

Kimberley Process (KP) as a “very heated discussion.” While

some called for suspending Zimbabwe, the majority agreed with

the GOZ on a work plan to meet KP expectations. He remarked,

“And we are particularly happy with that outcome. We think

it is the correct outcome.”

 

8. (C) South African BlomDiamonds President Ernest Blom told

Minerals/Energy Officer that he thought the KP artful

compromise to give Zimbabwe six months to “get its house in

order” versus some sort of suspension was the right path. He

noted that there was strong resistance to suspension from

Asia, Africa, and Rio Tinto (which operates a legitimate mine

in Zimbabwe). Although Marange diamonds are easily

identifiable, there is no provision in KP for a partial

suspension, he said. He admitted he had “mixed feelings”

about giving Zimbabwe more time, given the apparent human

rights violations. He noted that apparently (his emphasis)

private companies now had more control of the Marange site.

Blom said that the U.S., Canada, E.U., and NGOs comprised a

strong lobby for full suspension, but they bowed to the

consensus. Blom said he was heading to Antwerp for World

Federation of Diamond Bourses meetings (he is the president)

and he would be happy to share views afterwards.

 

9. (C) Comment: Although Ntsaluba is not in the inner circle

on South Africa’s Zimbabwe policy, his statements to the

press provide a strong indication of SAG attitudes and views

Qpress provide a strong indication of SAG attitudes and views

regarding Zimbabwe. Of particular interest is the fact that

he referred to ZANU-PF as “the government” and as “the ruling

party,” suggesting that the SAG is aware that the inclusive

government falls short of a true power-sharing arrangement.

Ntsaluba made a point of presenting both the MDC and ZANU-PF

positions, critical for developing credibility as the SADC

facilitator for this crisis. Although most observers expect

Zuma to be more sympathetic to the MDC than Mbeki was, we

still believe he will favor ZANU-PF over the MDC. That said,

Nstaluba’s comments about the “impatience” of regional

leaders with all the Zimbabwean leaders tracks with what we

have heard about the views of the South African political

elite, including Zuma. End comment.

 

 

GIPS

 

(6 VIEWS)

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