Emmerson Mnangagwa Dirco Zimbabwe latest

(Flickr / SA Presidency)

Zimbabwe protests: Dirco says country returning to normal

The SA government have labelled the situation in Zimbabwe as “calm”. At the same time, President Mnangagwa’s office said there could be more crackdowns.

Emmerson Mnangagwa Dirco Zimbabwe latest

(Flickr / SA Presidency)

Update: The headline of this article has been amended to more accurately reflect the quotes attributed to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and clarify the attribution of the quote from the presidential spokesperson in Zimbabwe.

The South African government have come under fire this week for a “luke-warm” response to the Zimbabwe protests.

On Sunday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) issued another statement.

South African response to Zimbabwe

The statement – attributed to International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu – is unfortunately timed, at best. The department describe the situation as calm, but the language used by the Zim presidency over the weekend suggests that tensions could soon peak again.

“Protests [in our] neighbouring country have calmed down and life in the streets of Zimbabwe is returning to normal. The South African government is working with the Zimbabwean government to find a short and long term solution to the economic situation.”

“If the situation is not attended to, the current economic challenges can derail the political and economic progress Zimbabwe has made since the election of the new President.”

Lindiwe Sisulu, via her Dirco statement

But Zim officials there could be more crackdowns

Neither the police force nor the army will take responsibility for the deaths of 12 civilians who clashed with the authorities.

That tone was firmly established by George Charamba, who serves as a spokesman for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Speaking to state-owned television over the weekend, he said that their response to the protests “is just a foretaste of things to come.”

It was an ominous clarion call from Zimbabwe’s highest authority. And one that is too deafening to ignore. Less than 16 months after the national army were hailed as liberators for unseating Robert Mugabe, they have now been cast as the oppressors. The hope that came with a “new dawn” has been snuffed out by a cloud of authoritarianism.

DA want ICC intervention

The Democratic Alliance (DA) have vowed to take matters to the International Criminal Court if Cyril Ramaphosa doesn’t come up with a strategy to intervene in the ongoing crisis. Shadow International Relations Minister Stevens Mokgalapa believes the citizens have suffered enough:

The DA strongly believes that the human rights crisis currently obtaining in Zimbabwe is of sufficient gravity to warrant an ICC investigation because, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, at least 12 people have been killed, 78 shot at and 240 faced “assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment”

Stevens Mokgalapa