The spokesperson for the South African mediation team meant to be helping Zimbabwe's unity government through its political crisis, has insisted that President Jacob Zuma's role is only one of facilitation, saying he is not there to 'babysit' the process.
Zuma has long been expected in Zimbabwe to meet with the leaders in the unity government over the ongoing refusal by ZANU PF to implement key reforms, as dictated by the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
But despite worsening conditions in Zimbabwe, including incidences of violence, harassment and intimidation, and ZANU PF's insistence that it will have elections this year with or without reform, there has been no word from Zuma or his team.
Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma's international relations advisor and a member of the meditation team, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that Zuma is still committed to the process and will be in the country "as soon as a date becomes available."
She explained that the mediation team would be coming to Zimbabwe soon to meet with the negotiators from the political parties in the coalition government, and to prepare for Zuma's arrival. But she said not dates have been set, because "the diary has not allowed for it."
Commenting on criticism that South Africa does not seem to be taking the situation in Zimbabwe seriously, Zulu said Zuma was not appointed as a 'babysitter'.
"The criticism is not warranted and the reason is that the Facilitator (Zuma) is not there to babysit the process. He is there to facilitate the decisions by the parties in government when they cannot agree on the implementation of reforms," Zulu said.
She added meanwhile that it is not up to Zuma to decide on the next elections in Zimbabwe, but insisted that he won't allow a poll until the conditions in Zimbabwe are right.
"The Facilitator has indicated that he can't decide on an election, and that it is for the three parties in Zimbabwe to agree and decide. But he has been consistent in saying that the GPA be implemented and that the outstanding issues be solved, and that the conditions for a free, fair and credible election are there," Zulu explained.
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