Talks still need to take place on Zim assistance, says Dirco

Pressure is mounting on the South African government to speak out against the alleged human rights violations meted out against protestors in that country.

Zimbabwe police ask for travel documents at a road block in Harare 31 July 2020 where they were deployed following a ban on anti-government protests planned for the same day by Zimbabwe opposition political leader Jacob Ngarivhume who has since been detained in custody pending an application for bail. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The International Relations Department said that discussions still needed to take place to flesh out the nature of the assistance South Africa can provide to Zimbabwe as Harare battles an intense political fallout sparked by its longstanding economic challenges.

Pressure is mounting on the government here at home to speak out against the alleged human rights violations meted out against protestors in that country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has come under fire from some quarters for expressing his concern over the blast in Beirut while keeping mum on the unfolding political crisis just beyond our borders.

But the International Relations Department said that it was in constant contact with its counterparts in Zimbabwe.

Spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele: "South Africa is part of multilateral bodies, including the SADC, the African Union, the United Nations, and our position as South Africa is that we are guided by these multilateral bodies."


In various footage shared widely on social media, Zimbabwean security forces could be seen giving a heavy-handed response with South Africa coming under fire for its silence over the matter.

From prominent political figures to ordinary citizens, thousands of people across the world have strongly condemned the Zimbabwe government’s response to protesters.

Running battles between police and demonstrators in Harare have sometimes ended in bloodshed, with unarmed citizens brutally beaten.

Fadayi Mahere is a lawyer and activist in the country and was arrested during the protests.

She said the silence from nations like South Africa had cast doubt about whether these governments cared about their fellow Africans.

“Do African lives matter to African leaders? The AU has said this is the year of silencing the gun. The test of whether they mean that or not is their response to Zimbabwe.”

*Ramaphosa as chair of AU needs to speak out against what is happening in Zim'

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the unrest was caused by "rogue Zimbabweans" working with foreign detractors.


Dozens of activists and protesters have been rounded up and arrested over the past week, while others have been assaulted for trying to stage demonstrations against corruption and economic hardship.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned he will "flush out" political opponents, and he's blamed foreign forces working with rogue Zimbabweans for the problems in his country.

The United Nations has issued an official statement on Zimbabwe calling on those in power to respect human rights.

Additional reporting by Tara Penny.

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