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ANC Urges More South African Pressure on Zimbabwe

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) says South Africa put more pressure on Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party to form a unity government with the opposition to help resolve the economic crisis. Jacob Zuma, who is the leader of the ANC, described the refusal of embattled President Robert Mugabe's administration to form a unity government as unfortunate. He said it has taken too long a time, which he said worsens the plight of the ordinary, Zimbabwean. Zuma adds that South Africa has the responsibility to push the ruling party into the right direction to help alleviate the suffering of the masses. Glen Mpani is a political analyst. From Cape Town South Africa, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are tired of what he says is mere rhetoric.

"My reaction to the sentiments of the statements from Jacob Zuma is that we have had a lot of rhetoric coming out of the region, coming out of SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the AU (African Union), but very little in terms of tangible action to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. So while the statement might be welcomed, the issue is then after realizing that they have not pushed the Zimbabweans so much. What are they going to do? Are they going to continue allowing the mediator to come up with decisions and processes that do not put pressure on the ZANU-PF government to yield the positions that it is refusing to yield?" Mpani asked.

He said the ANC leader's recent statements have been contradictory.

"This statement is coming at the backdrop of the statement that he made in Namibia, where he said and basically endorsed the mediation of Thabo Mbeki (South Africa's former president). So these are now two statements that are quite conflicting. If he says they should have pushed Zimbabwe more, is it the sign that they are regretting, and is that happening within a space of a week?" he asked.

Mpani said some members of the ANC leadership have not been overoptimistic about how the Zimbabwe mediation efforts have been handled so far.

"There has always been some disaffection in terms of the Zuma camp regarding the mediation efforts of Thabo Mbeki. But what they have tried to do is to avoid rocking the boat. So possibly, this might be the beginning of a tougher stance in relation to the processes that they have been in Zimbabwe," Mpani pointed out.

He said empty words have so far not done enough to help resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

"Anything other than a statement if nothing is put into action I think there is nothing that can give an indication to say that things are changing or they are shifting goalpost within Zimbabwe," he said.

Mpani said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) could do more to help in resolving the Zimbabwe political and economic stalemate.

"It is very difficult to say what exactly they can do, but as a region they've got the leverage. One, the leverage that they have is that they've got economic power and ZANU-PF depends so much on the South African government, the electricity and a number of issues that the South African government can use as a leverage. The second leverage they can use is their failure to recognize them. ZANU-PF government has been looking for legitimacy and they have been able to get South African support. And South Africa should stop vetoing the resolutions that are being made at the United Nations. I think the outright condemnation to say the government in Zimbabwe is illegitimate and we want you to get into government with the MDC… I think that is very important on the part of South Africa," Mpani noted.

Zuma said that South Africa's ruling ANC is continuing to put pressure on its ZANU-PF comrades and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations to agree on a unity government without further delay.

He adds that the ANC had conducted visits to former liberation movements in neighboring countries that had helped the ANC in the fight against white-minority apartheid rule, and would undertake a similar visit to Zimbabwe once the political stalemate in Zimbabwe is resolved.