Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • UN peacekeepers battle jihadists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

Africa

South Africa blocks aid until new government formed

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-21

South Africa has blocked nearly 30 million dollars of aid to Zimbabwe until the creation of a new government there. The agricultural aid to Zimbabwe was approved last month, subject to conditions, to help short-term food needs.

South Africa said Thursday it will hold back nearly 30 million dollars of aid to Zimbabwe until a new government is formed there, as it prepares to host new power-sharing talks next week.
  
The failure of President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a unity government means that "a window of opportunity" for aid had passed, said South African government spokesman Themba Maseko.
  
South Africa last month approved 300 million rand (22.6 million euros) in agricultural aid to Zimbabwe, subject to conditions, to help short-term food needs.
  
"However, this aid will not be transferred until such time (as) a representative government is in place," Maseko told journalists.
  
"Our major concern is that we missed the planting season," he added.
  
Foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed Thursday that South Africa will host a fresh round of talks next week under former president Thabo Mbeki, who brokered Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal more than two months ago.
  
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have yet to form a unity government, despite several failed attempts by regional leaders to implement the agreement aimed at ending the country's political turmoil and economic meltdown.
  
Mamoepa said the exact date has not yet been set for the talks.
  
The parties will discuss an amendment of the Zimbabwe constitution to allow the creation of a prime ministerial post, designated to Tsvangirai. Mugabe, 84, would remain as president under the deal.
  
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal on September 15.
  
South Africa's conditional withholding of economic aid follows that of several foreign donors who have refused bail-out packages until a unity government is in place.
  
Zimbabwe's economy has been in free-fall for years, leaving 80 percent of the population in poverty and nearly half the country in need of emergency food aid by January, according to the United Nations.
  
The country suffers the world's highest inflation rate, last estimated at 231 million percent in July, causing a breakdown in water and sanitation that has sparked an outbreak of cholera that has killed 294 people in recent weeks, according to the US ambassador.
  
"There are over 1,200 confirmed cases of cholera and another 2,500 unconfirmed cases," American ambassador to Harare James McGee said by way of contrast to an official Harare toll of about 90.
  
South Africa's new leadership has taken a much tougher line on Zimbabwe, in sharp contrast to Mbeki's so-called "quiet diplomacy" that avoided overt criticism of Mugabe -- an approach that Tsvangirai repeatedly criticised.
  
"We are finding it totally unacceptable that at this stage we have this impasse on one or two outstanding matters that in our view are matters that could be resolved by mature leadership around the table," Maseko said Thursday.
  
But the withholding of the aid package was not sanctions, he said.
  
"We need to make sure that it will be used properly... It will be difficult for us to simply transfer your money, the taxpayers money, to a non-existing government."
  
Former UN chief Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel, wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, will travel this weekend to Zimbabwe to assess the humanitarian situation for their Elders organisation.
  
The visit comes despite objections by Mugabe's government which branded the trip a "partisan mission," claiming that they were trying to support the opposition in power-sharing talks.
  
The power-sharing deal was meant to end the turmoil, but Mugabe has moved to unilaterally to appoint cabinet ministers to his ruling ZANU-PF.
  
Tsvangirai has refused to join the government until the parties reach an agreement on the cabinet make-up and on his powers as prime minister.

Date created : 2008-11-21

COMMENT(S)