June 24 (Bloomberg) — South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party said Zimbabwe’s government is violating democratic rights, while ANC leader Jacob Zuma said the political crisis in the neighbouring nation was “out of control.”
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, on June 22 withdrew from this week’s presidential run-off election, saying at least 86 of his supporters had been killed and 200,000 forced to flee from their homes.
The ANC is “deeply dismayed by the actions of the government of Zimbabwe, which is riding roughshod over the hard won democratic rights of the people of that country,” the Johannesburg-based ANC said in an e-mailed statement today. “The ANC cannot be indifferent to the flagrant violation of every principle of democratic governance.”
The ANC’s statement and Zuma’s comments contrast with the silence of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who lost control of the ANC to Zuma in December. Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, has said that talks toward a negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe are needed. Mbeki hasn’t condemned the government of President Robert Mugabe.
Zuma’s allies include the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which has ties to the MDC, a party formed by labor unions.
Mbeki fought against apartheid from exile and was for a time sheltered by Mugabe whose Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front won independence from the U.K. in 1980 after a civil war against white minority rule.
“We are making it clear that the values, the objectives that liberation movements fought for are not what Zanu-PF is ascribing to today,” Zuma said in a speech in Johannesburg today. “Action by the international community, such as the United Nations, is more urgent today.”
Free and fair elections cannot be held and a negotiated solution must be found, the ANC said, adding that Mugabe’s plan to proceed with the poll “will only serve to widen the divisions.”
Mbeki has been mandated by the 14-member Southern African Development Community, which includes South Africa and Zimbabwe, to mediate a settlement in Zimbabwe.
About 3 million Zimbabweans, or a quarter of the population, have fled the world’s highest inflation rate, at least 355,000 percent, and a decade of recession into South Africa. That helped spark anti-immigrant riots that killed at least 59 people last month.