Parliament’s International Relations and Cooperation Portfolio Committee on Wednesday called on the South African government to ready itself to support Zimbabwe socially, economically and politically.
This follows Robert Mugabe’s resignation as Zimbabwe's president on Tuesday, a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule by a man once feted as an independence hero but who, eventually, became feared and loathed as a despot.
Committee chairperson Siphosezwe Masango said the impact of Mugabe’s resignation will be clear once celebrations end.
The committee hoped that regional bodies like the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the United Nations would be able to provide collaborative and comprehensive assistance if called on to do so.
“The departure of President Mugabe marks the end of an era, and inaugurates an opportunity for Zimbabweans to collectively attend to their social, economic and political challenges,” said Masango.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) spokesperson on International Relations and Cooperation, Mkhuleko Hlengwa told Polity that Mugabe’s resignation offered a unique moment for regional and continental reflection on the key areas of democracy and human rights development.
“Zimbabwe collapsed under the close watch of SADC leaders who chose to stand on the side of its leader rather than its people,” stated Hlengwa.
The IFP wished the new government of Zimbabwe well but warned that great heed should be taken so that today’s liberators do not become tomorrow’s oppressors.
Meanwhile, the portfolio committee congratulated the people of Zimbabwe for guaranteeing the safety of Mugabe, and the mature and relatively peaceful way in which the transition was being handled.
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Llewellyn Landers briefed the committee on Zimbabwe and Lesotho’s current developments, and he assured them that the bilateral relations with both countries remained cordial and unchanged.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, through a statement, called on the world to accept the settlement reached by Mugabe and ZANU-PF which includes full immunity for him and his family.
“This is a perfect outcome for peace and stability in Zimbabwe which will allow Zimbabweans to define a post-Mugabe era,” read the statement.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said while Mugabe’s resignation was the first step towards a new beginning for Zimbabwe, it was not the silver bullet that would fix the country.