South Africa ruling party backs Zimbabwe talks
As Zimbabwe announces that it will start a renewed crackdown on opposition leaders, lawmakers and activists in the coming days, South Africa's ruling party has turned on the pressure..
African National Congress leaders have urged President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to negotiate with the opposition, a sign South Africa's ruling party may play a bigger role in Zimbabwe's political crisis.
Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC's deputy president, called for talks after he and ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe met with Mugabe in Harare on Wednesday, Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
"He said ANC also supported the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and AU (African Union) positions that dialogue between ZANU-PF and the opposition parties was the only way to address the challenges facing Zimbabwe," the paper said.
"Unity of our people is paramount. It is a precondition for development," Motlanthe is quoted as saying when asked whether talks were key to solving the crisis over Mugabe's June 27 run-off election victory, which Western nations branded a sham.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 poll but fell short of the absolute majority required to avoid a run-off.