Archbishop to South Africa: Step Up to Zimbabwe
South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" with Harare has been too quiet. One would think that SA President Thabo Mbeki is waiting for the Zim crisis to solve itself; it way well do, but it would not be pretty.
The head of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, Archbishop Pius Ncube, criticised the South African government on Tuesday for failing to rein in Harare's hard-line President Robert Mugabe.
"They are in the best position to put pressure on Zimbabwe, to call for sanctions if necessary," the archbishop of Bulawayo said on the SAfm radio show.
"They could force Mugabe to change, but they have been watching this thing. It's now the eighth year it has been deteriorating," he added.
Mugabe has come in for widespread international condemnation over his treatment of the opposition, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and then assaulted last week.
South Africa, which has long pursued a policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards its northern neighbour, has called for Zimbabwe to respect the rights of all its citizens, but the comments stop some way short of the expressions of outrage that have been heard elsewhere.