Foreign Policy Blogs

South Africa and the Zim Crisis

The situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate. Another opposition leader has told of her travails and worries for her health if she is not allowed to leave the country and the governor of the country's central bank has announced a crackdown on illegal fuel dealers in hopes of stemming one source of the country's rampant inflation. But there is hope that South Africa will begin to take on a more prominent leadership role in confronting the crisis.  

On the same day that Pius Ncube,  Zimbabwe's archbishop, accused the South African government of failing to use the power at its disposal to force Mugabe's hand and United States officials appealed to South Africa to act to stem the Zim crisis, signs emerged that South Africa is prepared to act. On the eve of the country's Human Rights Day (which occurs every March 21, which marks the anniversary of both the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and the Langa Massacre of 1985) members of the country's cabinet expressed their concern  about the crisis across the Limpopo. They called for talks from all sides, including Mugabe, and did not hint at any South African intervention, but even tepid words represent something given the general state of reticence that has characterized South Africa's policies toward Mugabe's regime.