Zuma deploys SA state security and defence ministries to meet Robert Mugabe

"President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine." (Reuters)

"President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine." (Reuters)

President Jacob Zuma has released a second statement on the political uncertainty unfolding in Zimbabwe. Zuma has revealed that he has been in contact with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and will send the ministers of both state security and defence to meet with him.

Zuma, who is also the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that South Africa is also in contact with the Zimbabwean Defence Force. The ZDF has said in a statement on Wednesday morning that Mugabe is “safe” after reports emerged that soldiers had left their barracks, taken control of the Zimbabwean national broadcaster, and detained Cabinet ministers.

In a statement on Wednesday, Zuma said that he would send defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and state security minister Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe “to meet with President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force”.

The presidency in South Africa confirmed that Mugabe was in his house.

“President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine,” a statement from the South African presidency read.

The SADC is also sending a special envoy to Zimbabwe and Angola “in light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe”. Angolan President Joao Lourenco, who serves as the chairperson of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, will be briefed on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Zuma did not give reasons why he was sending Mapisa-Nqakula and Bongo to Zimbabwe.

The military in Zimbabwe has denied allegations that they are staging a coup, but the events of the army have left Zimbabwe in a state of political uncertainty.

Mugabe, who is 93-years-old, has held onto power in Zimbabwe for 30 years. On Monday, General Constantino Chiwenga, the army chief, publicly threatened a coup against Mugabe’s regime.

The warning came after Mugabe sacked his vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was dismissed after Grace Mugabe reportedly called for him to be axed. Mnangagwa is one of Grace’s strongest rivals to become Mugabe’s successor.

While the ZDF maintains there is no coup in Zimbabwe, activists such as Pastor Evan Mawarire have declared this moment an unprecedented time for Zimbabweans.

Zuma has urged for there to be calm in the country and says that the SADC is continuing to monitor activity in Zimbabwe. 

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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