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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 13:34 UK

SA views on the Zimbabwe 'crisis'

South Africa President Thabo Mbeki and his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe speak to the press after their meeting in Harare on April 12


BBC News website readers in South Africa give their views on their country's position on neighbouring Zimbabwe where the results of last month's presidential poll are yet to be released.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who chaired a UN Security Council meeting where Zimbabwe was discussed, says there is no crisis. But his governing African National Congress (ANC) has described the situation in Zimbabwe as "dire".


I think that President Mbeki's heart is in the right place, namely that he wants the situation resolved peacefully. Mbeki seems willing to wait Mugabe out, hoping that the old dictator will eventually die from natural causes, thereby opening the way for peaceful elections. The problem with this scenario is that Zimbabweans cannot survive any longer under the whip. Mbeki's reputation in South Africa is in tatters. He has always been seen as a distant intellectual who is shy of the public eye. He is beleaguered within the ANC, with the election of Jacob Zuma as their leader. Mbeki is perceived as being soft on crime at home as well which puts him at odds with the generally wealthier white community particularly. If Mbeki gets it right in Zimbabwe and oversees a successful peaceful transition and a Mugabe exit, many of his shortcomings at home may well be overshadowed in the short term. This is all that Mbeki has to put on the table. It has become his last stand amid mounting turmoil at home and a failing presidency.
Julian, Johannesburg

It is sad to hear Thabo's comments about Zimbabwe. Where would South Africa be today if the world had said there is no crisis here during apartheid? As African people our destiny is the same and leaders like Mugabe are ruining the future for an entire generation. Mr Mbeki, for the sake of Africans, there is a crisis - next door in Zimbabwe!
James, Pretoria

Viva Mugabe, viva Mbeki, viva Zimbabwe. There is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
Anon, South Africa

What Mugabe should understand is that the war he is purporting to be fighting no longer has a place in this globalized world. He is worse than Rip Van Winkle who woke up after 100 years only to realise the war is over. Mbeki has done more harm than good and is extending Mugabe's nightmarish slumber by his invisible meditations. Lets face it, godfather Mugabe and his ZANU mafias will never listen to Mbeki. If this redundant and obsolete gangleader refers to the British PM as 'a small dot', what more of Mbeki? Mugabe please wake up from your slumber and realise how many innocent lives you have butchered and will continue to butcher as your dream entails you to remain in power.
Richard, Durban

While I cannot deny all is not well in Zimbabwe, I have to wonder why, if indeed there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, are Zimbabweans carrying on like there is no crisis? Why is it ok for Zimbabweans to ignore calls for a stay-away by Tsvangirai and expect Mbeki to deliver their "freedom"? Yes, Zimbabwe helped us during our fight to bring down apartheid but South Africans took an active role in our own liberation. It is not good enough for Zimbabweans to say they have voted and therefore responsibility now lies solely with Mbeki and SADC to remove Mugabe. They need to communicate to Mugabe that he is no longer wanted, if that is true.
Gugulethu, Fourways

This is a humanitarian crisis. Why is Africa constantly ignored by the rest of the world? How is it possible for the world's most powerful countries to sit back and watch people die each day of starvation, and horrific human rights abuses. Why do the UK and US even entertain the views of Mbeki, when clearly the 'quiet diplomacy' policy failed to work years ago. It is time the world took notice of the people of Africa. It is not a wasteland, it is a place of infinite potential. The images of Africa in this and the centuries past will come to haunt the rest of the world - just as the persecution of the Jews did during the last world war. Let us not repeat history.
Megan, Johannesburg

Working amongst the Xhosa people as I do, at least half of whom would class themselves as a product of the struggle against oppressive white rule, I fail to comprehend how states that fought to give their people a voice, freedom and opportunity are now bent on ignoring those same people - in this case the millions of Zimbabweans oppressed under Mugabe. The overwhelming majority of black South Africans I know are outraged and saddened at both Mugabe and Mbeki, both of whom are meant to represent the victory of the people against oppression. It is sad when those who fought for the people then put so much distance between themselves and the people now.
James, Port Elizabeth

With due respect I think the statement made by Mbeki was stupid. How on earth can you tell people that the sky is red when they can see that it is blue?
Anon, South Africa

The stance that Mbeki is taking is not good for the people of Zimbabwe, the region, the international community, or for generations to come. Mugabe must go! You do not need a rocket scientist to tell that. The Zimbabwean economy needs a new pair of hands to resuscitate it. The opposition have an automatic mandate from the electorate. Results that are compromised are just not results. Mbeki should confront his logic once more.
Charley, Johannesburg

Thabo Mbeki has family ties with Mugabe, so you can forget about him ever being honest regarding Zimbabwe and Mugabe's reign of terror. His words about governance are so much hot air. Regarding Mugabe: there is no doubt about his credentials in the fight for liberation, but once he secured power he immediately set about becoming a dictator. The old saying applies: the problem with a benign dictator is, what do you do when he stops being benign?
Ralph, Boksburg

Mbeki was the chief mediator between Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the build-up to the election and was asked to continue his role by SADC (Southern African Development Community) at the weekend summit in Lusaka. If there was "no crisis" why was he appointed as the mediator? And if there was no crisis why would he want Zimbabwe to go to SADC's extraordinary meeting?
Amu, Johannesburg

I bleed every time I think about Zimbabwe. Our President Thabo Vuyelwa Mbeki - the world cannot understand him. Firstly, he denied that HIV/Aids exist, then he denied there is high crime in South Africa, he denied the warnings about power cuts, now he is denying there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. When Mbeki says something nobody in the country opposes him. I respect Mbeki but nobody can predict what he is thinking.
Tivani, Johannesburg

The leadership of my country has no concept of statesmanship. No-one in their right mind would be photographed clasping the hand of a man like Robert Mugabe who has brought a vibrant and productive country to its knees. It is extremely worrying to South Africans that our leaders consistently let us down.
Beryl, Johannesburg

SADC has shamed us Africans by sanctioning Mugabe's madness. It is a dangerous precedent that has been set. I just wonder if any of the current head of states that came up with the decision in Lusaka would not follow the same path after losing their respective elections. It is good the "softie" Mbeki lost to Jacob Zuma, otherwise he was going to drag South Africa down the same route. I lived in Zimbabwe until recently and I expected the stay-away to fail because the majority cannot spare a second fighting Zanu instead of their poverty.
Jojo, South Africa

I think Thabo Mbeki's stance is misguided and based on misinformation. It cleary demonstrates the protection of personal interests at the expense of the starving millions under a violent and repressive regime.
Tendai, Paulshof, Johannesburg

When Mbeki and the ANC were trying to get rid of the previous (white) government in South Africa he did all in his power to get help from the west - by way of sanctions etc. This was on the basis of wanting to right an irreconcilable wrong. Why now does he want to leave this to an "African solution" (which means, in reality, allowing Mugabe to "keep" the country as if he owns it or has any right to rule other than that given to him by the people). Is this kind of hypocrisy an "African solution"? Should the west indulge it?
John, Johannesburg

This reminds me of so many pieces writen in the Apartheid days in South Africa, when conservative whites kept getting paranoid about the West wanting to end Apartheid. But Mugabe is just the same as the Apartheid leaders of South Africa in the 1980s. Allowing for the paranoid arrogance and feudal tribalism of leaders is no reason why we should not bring pressure from North South East and West to overthrow them!
Vernon, Pietermaritzburg

If the West should not intervene, then why should China? Is there a difference? Why is there a Chinese ship 'An Yue Jiang' on its way to Zimbabwe with a shipment of arms? This has been confirmed by the South African police and customs. Why are there chinese military officers in Mutare? Is this another form of 'quiet diplomacy'?
Charlotte, South Africa

Who is fooling who? There is a crisis in Zimbabwe. Why are the results not out after more than two weeks? It has never happened before.
Naledi, Cape Town

Morgan Tsvangirai has no choice but to take part in the bogus and violent re-run which he will 'lose'. If he does not take part, he will give Mugabe the chance to say that he has won legally and will also give comfort to those weak Sadc states who would like the issue to be swept under the carpet. Let us hope that the inevitable state-sponsored violence will shame the surrounding countries, especially South Africa, into withdrawing their support and therefore bringing the Mugabe regime to its knees.
Robert, Pretoria

Bob and Zanu-PF will now just play a silly little game that dictators like to play called "lets use the army against the people". As our pusillanimous government stands by and deludes itself with the "brothers in arms", "oh comrade my comrade" nonsense, while people are dying from violence, Aids and just plain derision in the face of all of it.
Roy, Johannesburg

South Africa is subject to the same manipulation of institutions when the subject of corruption is the ruling party. African politics has little to do with democracy, the will of the majority is only headed when the majority have the right will. Otherwise it is the will of the elite. The elite in SADC are a club who jealously guard their interests (not dissimilar to the US).
David, Johannesburg

I was a Zimbabwean citizen in 1980, and I was introduced to Mugabe and his first wife Sally in Bulawayo. He had just been sworn in as prime minister. He was charming and she was quite lovely. I believe that her death in 1992 changed him. He finally flipped when the people voted against him in the 2000 referendum. He felt betrayed and rallied his so called war veterans to turn on the farmers. Mugabe cannot believe that the people would actually vote against him. So Zimbabweans, please be careful out there.
Frank, Amanzimtoti



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