CAPE TOWN, South Africa's Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Luwellyn Landers, says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should play a monitoring role in Zimbabwe following the resignation of long-serving President Robert Mugabe.

He said this when briefing the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations in Parliament here Wednesday on the latest developments in neighbouring Zimbabwe. South Africa currently chairs the SADC, a 15-nation sub-regional grouping of which Zimbabwe is also a member.

The Speaker of the Zimbabwean Parliament confirmed on Tuesday that the former liberation leader had tendered his resignation following military intervention, which saw the Mugabe being put under house confinement by the Zimbabwean Defence Force. The ruling ZANU-PF party had also voted to recall the president and removed him as as State and party president and for dismissed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take his place.

Landers said following Mugabe's resignation on Tuesday, the people of Zimbabwe should be given space to determine their way forward and that no solution should be prescribed for them by other countries.

The SADC should play its monitoring role and monitor things as they happen to ensure that the proper processes are followed all the time and that they are in line with the Zimbabwean Constitution. From their past experience with the people of Zimbabwe, we have to allow the people of Zimbabwe to do what is expected of them without interfering, he added.

The statement follows an eventful week which saw the Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF) moving in to seize control of the country on Nov 14 � sealing off strategic points such as broadcasting stations, airports and government offices. On Nov 15, ZDF spokesperson Major-General Sibusiso Moyo announced that the military had taken control of the country and called for calm.

Moyo also assured the nation that Mugabe and his family were safe and that the military intervention should not be viewed as a coup, but as a bloodless correction.

On the same day, President Jacob Zuma, as Chair of the SADC, issued a media statement expressing great concern of the political situation in Zimbabwe and appealed for calm and restraint and further called for dialogue to take its course.

Thereafter, President Zuma sent the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo as special envoys to Zimbabwe, where they had separate talks with Mugabe and the military.

On Monday, the Summit of the Organ of Troika of the SADC plus its Chairperson was held in Angola, which took a resolution that both leaders of the Organ (Angolan President Joao Lourenco) and the Summit (President Zuma) should visit Zimbabwe on Tuesday. The Presidency later issued a statement announcing that in light of Mugabe's resignation, the trip had been postponed until further notice.

Most South African Members of Parliament expressed a view that while the military intervention in Zimbabwe must not be celebrated, the people of Zimbabwe should be commended for a peaceful transition. They agreed with Landers' view that there should be no political interference from any SADC Member state.

Landers said SADC member States were on standby to assist in the Zimbabwe situation if and when the people of Zimbabwe request assistance. Meanwhile, neither South Africa nor SADC had an official statement on the resignation of President Mugabe, he added.

We have to be mindful and wary of becoming 'Big Brothers'. We shouldn't fall into that trap. At all times, we should endeavour to assist Zimbabwe with whatever they may need. We have to allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their own fate.


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