Mmusi Maimane heads to Zimbabwe, wants to meet president over abuses
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday he has requested a meeting with Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa over the alleged clampdown on protesting Zimbabweans.
Maimane has been pushing President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in Zimbabwe, following the heavy-handedness of security forces during a strike over a massive petrol price hike.
Maimane said he would go to Zimbabwe next week on a "fact-finding mission" and that's when he hopes to meet Mnangagwa.
"The situation is Zimbabwe is dire. Widespread civilian suppression, military-led violence, and bloodshed has ensued – with hundreds arrested and detained by government authorities. Assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of citizens continues while President Ramaphosa sits on his hands and refuses to take action," said Maimane.
Maimane said Ramaphosa had failed to show leadership.
"Ten days ago the DA formally approached the president, requesting he advise the nation on what steps the government would take in the immediate future to ensure an end to the violence in Zimbabwe and the full reinstatement of all civil liberties.
"Since then, no meaningful action has been taken by Ramaphosa or his government. The era of 'quiet diplomacy' continues, as the Department of International Relations and Co-operation has to date simply expressed confidence in 'the measures being taken by the Zimbabwean government' which will 'resolve the situation'," he said.
Maimane said he was making the intervention as the chairperson of the South African Partnership for Democratic Change, a grouping of opposition parties in the SADC region, since both the African Union and the SADC had failed to make any meaningful intervention.
"I have a duty to speak up on behalf of our member parties, and to speak out against any injustice in the region. The disturbing reports of beatings, arrests and other threats to hard-won democratic freedoms in Zimbabwe compel me to act," added Maimane.
He said protection of democratic rights in Zimbabwe was critical to the advancement of democracy throughout the SADC.
"But more importantly, the safety and wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe matters deeply to all of us, because we are one people here in southern Africa. They are our brothers and sisters," he added.