News24

Nqakula to lead Zuma's Zim team

2009-11-26 19:05

Johannesburg - Charles Nqakula, former defence minister and current adviser to President Jacob Zuma will lead a team to facilitate talks on the Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement, the presidency said on Thursday.

Nqakula would work with "special envoy" Mac Maharaj, who returns to active politics after retiring as minister in 1999, and international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu.

"The facilitation team will soon engage with the parties as emissaries of the president, and report back to President Zuma," the presidency said.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will participate in the talks to rescue the floundering agreement which led to the formation of a unity government in February.

'Petty squabbling'

Tsvangirai boycotted the government for three weeks in October amid differences over appointments to key cabinet posts.

His long-time opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change has reportedly claimed that there has been a crackdown against its members by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mugabe has refused to appoint Roy Bennett, a top aide to Tsvangirai, as the deputy minister of agriculture, insisting that he first stand trial on terrorism charges.

South Africa's department of international relations and co-operation has described the impasse as "petty squabbling and politicking among the leaders".

A Southern African Development Community Summit earlier this month directed Zuma, as the facilitator, to assess the progress of the talks and report back to it.

A date of the team's departure for Harare has not yet been finalised.