South Africa says Zimbabwe support limited to what Pretoria can afford

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By African News Agency

SOUTH Africa will support Zimbabwe in whatever way it can but within the framework of what it is able to provide, according to International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos in Switzerland on Tuesday.

Asked about the volatile situation in Zimbabwe, Sisulu said South Africa was keeping communication channels open with its southern African neighbour.

“We think that Zimbabwe is in an unfortunate position where large sections of the people are unhappy and expressing their unhappiness very publicly in the streets,” she said.

“We would like to give whatever support we can to the government of Zimbabwe to make sure they can provide stability and calm the public in the most peaceful way possible.

“We are also prepared to support them in whatever way we can. I’m not sure if it will be financially, or whatever kind of aid we can provide. Our support will, of course, depend on our ability to provide them with whatever kind of support… it will not necessarily be what they need but what we can afford.”

South Africa reportedly turned down a request from Zimbabwe for a $1.2 billion (about R16.6 billion) loan in December.

A huge hike in the fuel price saw anti-government protests and a brutal crackdown response by security forces in major centres such as Harare and Bulawayo last week, with conflicting reports of the number of people killed and injured.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been due to attend the WEF summit following a state visit to Russia, but on Sunday decided to return home to address the crisis.