Military base camp near Harare sealed off

Army sources on the ground claim the Zimbabwean military is now in charge of a paramilitary police support unit depot in Harare.

Zimbabwean soldiers control vehicle access at an intersection in Harare on 15 November 2017. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has announced he's sending envoys to assist with the political impasse gripping Zimbabwe.

He's released a statement on Wednesday afternoon in his capacity as South African Development Community (SADC) chair confirming that Defence and State Security Ministers Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Bongani Bongo will be deployed.

Zuma has also confirmed that he spoke to his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, who indicated that he's confined to his home and is fine there.

However, both Al Jazeera and CNN are reporting that the whereabouts of Mugabe are unknown.

Army sources on the ground claim the Zimbabwean military is now in charge of a paramilitary police support unit depot in Harare and has disarmed police officers there.

Reports say their base camp outside Harare has also been sealed off by the army.

The police and the intelligence organisation weren’t party to a statement by the defence force’s Commander Constantine Chiwenga on Monday.

Evidently, the army is taking no chances.

A picture circulated on social media on Wednesday shows more than 20 police officers, who appear to be under arrest outside the parliament building.

The officers, in their distinctive navy blue and grey uniforms, are seated in a line in the car park while armed soldiers stand nearby.

Founder of the African Democrats, Marco Machona has welcomed what he calls a "soft coup" by the military.

“I salute the army on this particular event despite what the South African president has said. I think for me it is a soft coup which gives president Robert Mugabe the dictator enough time to probably to rethink, to reposition himself, to negotiate for the safety of his family and also to map his way out.”

The South African government is urging citizens in Zimbabwe to be vigilant and cautious.

GALLERY: On the ground in Zimbabwe