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Zimbabwe And South Africa Enhance Military Cooperation

A South African political analyst says he sees the latest cooperative agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa as nothing more than a political ploy by South Africa’s government aimed at bolstering the “oppressive, pariah regime” of Robert Mugabe. Speaking to English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje, Herman Hanekom of the Pretoria-based Africa Institute of South Africa says he finds it amazing that a country that has been under an arms embargo for about a decade suddenly finds itself in a position to train the pilots of a country that’s technologically far more advanced.

The Pretoria-based researcher says he finds the cooperative agreement ill-timed, inappropriate and something South Africa “will have to pay the bill for.” He suggests other areas of cooperation he considers more appropriate for the two governments, including information technology and agriculture. Mr. Hanekom says given the current political situation in Zimbabwe, the South African government should not have embarked on a program of cooperation involving the military. He also criticized the Southern Africa Development Council for remaining “totally ineffective” in addressing the urgent political and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.