The government of South Africa has allocated 300 million rand (US$30 million) for food aid to Zimbabwe - on the condition that a national unity government is formed.

A Bloomberg News report quoted South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel as saying the funds will be provided to Zimbabwe if the operations of food relief organizations are guaranteed under a unity government.

Pretoria's pledge came as non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe were stepping up pressure for the government to declare the humanitarian crisis a national disaster.

The Matebeleland NGO Forum in conjunction with the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations has been seeking the support of parliament for such a designation, which the groups say would speed up mobilization of aid.

NANGO Spokesman Fambai Ngirande told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the organizations are still awaiting a response as the power-sharing impasse between ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change has diverted attention from the food crisis, which he said has hit the Matabeleland region hardest.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...