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Pretoria rebuffs Malema's pleas

by Staff reporter
05 Aug 2020 at 18:28hrs | Views
SOUTH Africa yesterday rejected calls for it to deal robustly with Zimbabwe, adding that relations between Pretoria and Harare were governed by international laws.

In addition, the regional power said any issues between the two neighbouring countries would be dealt with bilaterally and confidentially.

Responding to calls by the leader of South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) - Julius Malema - for Pretoria to curtail its diplomatic ties with Harare, SA ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete said this would not be entertained.

"We don't agree with what the leader of the EFF is saying regarding the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa.

"The Zimbabwe-South Africa relations are governed by international laws in Sadc and AU (African Union).

"The matters between the two countries are dealt with bilaterally and confidentially," Mbete told the Daily News yesterday.

This comes as the firebrand Malema has called for the closure of the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria, on account of accusations of human rights breaches by authorities in Harare.

"We call for the removal of the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA until they restore human rights in that country.
"Failure to do so, we will prevent any official from the Zimbabwean government from participating in any gathering in SA until they respect ordinary Zimbabweans," Malema said on Twitter.

Yesterday, EFF head of international relations, Godrich Gardee, also warned that they were mobilising tens of thousands of their supporters to march on the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria.

"We are watching the Covid-19 dynamics so that we can mobilise 50 000 people to protest at the embassy to force out the diplomat there.

"We also call upon President Ramaphosa as the chairperson of both the AU and Sadc to rein in president Mnangagwa over the killing and harassment of the people of Zimbabweans, as well as the compensation of white farmers for stealing our land.

"What he (Mnangagwa) has done is to spit on the graves of those who fought for the land," Gardee said in reference to the US$3,5 billion deal that was signed last week between the government and representatives of white former commercial farmers.

Malema, who has had many run-ins with Ramaphosa's government over his radical push for the seizure of land belonging to SA white farmers, has accused Mnangagwa and his administration of negating the gains of liberation by signing the compensation deal.

But Harare has since hit back at Malema.

"The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the Republic of South Africa read with consternation and utter disbelief the EFF statement on the announcement by the President of Zimbabwe on compensating white farmers issued on 31 July 2020.

"The Embassy has, in the past, restrained itself from responding to the many provocative statements issued by the EFF about Zimbabwe.

"On this occasion, we cannot remain silent in the face of the EFF's pretentiousness to know more about the history and politics of Zimbabwe than the Zimbabweans themselves," the Zimbabwean embassy in SA told Malema off this week.

"Even more, the EFF has the audacity to dare teach Zimbabweans, even our head of State, about the land question in our country.

"Not only did thousands of our compatriots pay the supreme sacrifice for the return of the land to its rightful owners, but even today our people suffer the burden of sanctions imposed by those opposed to our land reform programme," it added.

Source - dailynews

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