via SA anxious about Zim – DailyNews Live 6 DECEMBER 2014
HARARE – Although South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is represented at Zanu PF’s ongoing “elective” congress, it has been learnt that Pretoria continues to be very anxious about political developments in Zimbabwe.
The ANC is being represented at the damp squib gathering in Harare by one of its rising stars and close confidante of President Jacob Zuma, its treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.
Well-placed sources in Pretoria said yesterday that a distinction had to be made between the ANC and the South African government in terms of how both of them related to Zanu PF and Zimbabwe.
“The ANC has longstanding historical relations with Zanu PF and as both are former liberation movements, they are always likely to express solidarity with one another at a formal level.
“In terms of the two countries’ respective governments, things are slightly different as it is never guaranteed that either the ANC or Zanu PF will always be in power, and as such government to government relations are more complex.
“It is in that context that many in government (in South Africa) continue to be very concerned by the political situation in Zimbabwe, more so now that there is so much disquiet in Zanu PF which has traditionally been seen as a very tightly-controlled movement compared to the ANC,” one of the sources said,
Another source said Pretoria’s concerns about Zimbabwe were not new and dated to the days when the late revered president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was in power.
“I think that this is one of the worrying things for South Africa about Zimbabwe in the sense that the political crisis has been there for a very long time, which in turn has impacted very negatively on the country’s economy and its people.
“As you know, one of the unfortunate consequences of the problems in Zimbabwe has been that many of its citizens have opted to leave their country of birth and tried to find some relief in neighbouring countries, including South Africa.
“Unfortunately, almost all of Zimbabwe’s neighbours, including South Africa, are not in a position to be able to absorb this heavy influx of the country’s citizens, many of them undocumented migrants.
“In the case of South Africa, this has resulted in intolerable stresses with regards to the country’s social service programmes and employment situation, sometimes resulting in repulsive antipathy towards Zimbabweans and other migrants in the country,” the senior civil servant said.
He added that “our prayer” is that the fallout in Zanu PF would not result in “widespread anarchy and violence particularly seeing that President (Robert) Mugabe is not young anymore”.