There are growing calls from prominent South Africans for President
Kgalema Motlanthe, who also chairs the Southern African Development
Community, to increase pressure on Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe. The calls come as toll from Zimbabwe's
cholera epidemic reaches 800 dead with 15,000 infected and repression
increases against the Movement for Democratic Change.
South Africans have called on South African President Kgalema Motlanthe
to show greater leadership in the Zimbabwe crisis.
vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town and a leading
anti-apartheid activist, Mamphela Ramphele, this week said a tragedy is
playing out in Zimbabwe because of what Nelson Mandela observed is a
failure of leadership on many levels.
She said President
Motlanthe has an historic opportunity as chairman of the Southern
African Development Community and leader of Zimbabwe's most powerful
neighbor, to put pressure on Mr. Mugabe to step down as president in
return for a reconstruction program under United Nations supervision.
former deputy-chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission and head of the New York-based International Center for
Transitional Justice, Alex Borain, said Mr. Motlanthe had a special
responsibility. He said he should increase pressure on Mugabe to step
down or call for immediate elections under United Nations
Wilmot James of the Cape Town-based
Economic Justice Initiative said Mr. Motlanthe must lead a SADC
humanitarian mission, with UN assistance, and install Movement for
Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister since his
party won the March elections.
In an editorial Friday, South
Africa's influential weekly, The Financial Mail said that Mr. Mugabe,
who it called Zimbabwe's destroyer, must leave office immediately.
newspaper said Mr. Motlanthe has only two options: to cut off all
supplies to Zimbabwe, in order to bring Mr Mugabe down; or to invade.
humanitarian groups continue to battle a cholera epidemic that has
claimed some 800 lives. The water-borne disease emerged due to heavy
rains and the country's collapsed health, water and sanitation systems.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu accused the West of launching a
biological warfare on Zimbabwe in order to overthrow Mr. Mugabe.
[cholera] is a serious biological, chemical weapon, a genocidal
onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British still fighting to
re-colonize Zimbabwe," he said. "And they are using their allies."
addition, Mr. Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said in his Saturday
column in the government-controlled Herald newspaper that international
news agencies and journalists have invited an unspecified action
because of their reporting on the cholera epidemic.
that the line between these journalistic misdeeds and espionage grows
thinner by the day and said the authorities are about to place a price
on those concerned.