By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed special envoys to Zimbabwe expected to assess the socio-political situation in the country following reports of massive human rights abuses by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire Zanu PF government.
The envoys are expected to engage Mnangagwa on alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe where over 60 people have been arrested and some of them brutalized by suspected state security agents following the 31st July anti-corruption protests.
In a statement on Twitter, the South African government resolved to send former Local Government and Security Minister Dr. Sydney Mufamadi and former Deputy President Baleka Mbete.
“The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, has appointed Dr. Sydney Mufamadi and Ms Baleka Mbete as his Special Envoys to Zimbabwe, following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing.
“The Special Envoys are expected to engage the Government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders to identify possible ways in which South Africa can assist Zimbabwe.
“Dr. Sydney Mufamadi is the former Minister of Provincial and Local Government (1999 to 2008). In 1994, after South Africa’s first democratic elections, he was appointed Minister of Safety and Security in the Government of National Unity – a position he held until 1999.
“Ms. Baleka Mbete is former Deputy President of Republic of South Africa, former Speaker of the National Assembly and former Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC).
“The President’s Special Envoys will leave for Zimbabwe as soon as all the arrangements are made,”
Dr. Sydney Mufamadi, was the former Minister of Provincial and Local Government between 1999 and 2008.
Mufamadi was in 1994, after South Africa’s first democratic elections, was appointed Minister of Safety and Security in the Government of National Unity – a position he held until 1999.
Ms. Baleka Mbete is the former Speaker of the National Assembly and former Chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Several opposition members and government critics have been arrested in recent days while human rights groups allege security forces have carried out illegal abductions.
The ruling Zanu PF party blames the main opposition MDC Alliance for inviting Western sanctions on the country. But the Western countries blame the ruling regime for human rights abuses.
More than two weeks ago, investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, a key player who exposed Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia in massive corruption, the US$60m Drax Covidgate scandal that saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, was arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume.
Moyo was arrested over the scandal, released on ZWL 50 000 bail and never entered the prison gate. Chin’ono was Thursday denied bail by Justice Tawanda Chitapi of the High Court in Harare.
They were arrested ahead of the 31st July protests against corruption and charged for allegedly “inciting violence”.
On 31st July 2020, the Zimbabwean police arrested scores of people who tried to hold peaceful demonstrations.
Political activists took to social media to avert state sponsored arrests, rape, torture and abductions.
A hashtag, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has been trending forcing advocacy networks, celebrities and politicians in Zimbabwe, South Africa and across the world to take information on rights abuses in Zimbabwe and mount pressure on Mnangagwa’s government to act. Nehanda Radio