ACDP, IFP favour Zim election loan

By Drum Digital
17 April 2013

Two opposition parties said on Wednesday they were in favour of South Africa loaning money to cash-strapped Zimbabwe to fund its coming elections.

The African Christian Democratic Party said money spent helping Zimbabweans take ownership of their future through a fair democratic election was "an investment worth the risk".

The Inkatha Freedom Party said it supported such a loan on condition it be used primarily for the elections.

It was reported on Tuesday that talks between the two countries about financial help were at a "sensitive stage".

On Monday, Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti said his treasury did not have the capacity to fund the elections, for which the country needed about R1.2 billion.

Biti said the Zimbabwean government had written to the United Nations, South Africa, and Angola asking for loans.

He was reported later on Monday as saying South Africa would contribute R900 million. The elections are scheduled to be held later this year.

The IFP said in a statement on Wednesday it supported such a loan "on condition that it will be utilised primarily in bringing about inclusively free and fair elections later this year in Zimbabwe".

In a separate statement, ACDP MP Cheryllyn Dudley said it was in South Africa's best interests to help Zimbabwe.

The political situation in that country had "impacted significantly" on South Africa over the past 13 years, with many Zimbabweans taking refuge in the country.

However, Zimbabwe had the potential to be a significant trading partner and trading route to the rest of Africa, "making positive relations with our neighbour highly desirable".

The situation was "unfortunate" and clearly an unfair burden on South African taxpayers.

"If, however, we want Zimbabweans to have a stable country to live in, we will have to actively support the democratic elections, and this will mean providing the funds needed," said Dudley.

"The ACDP accepts that money spent on helping Zimbabweans to take ownership of their future through a peaceful and fair democratic election is an investment worth the risk and a move in the right direction."

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Zimbabwe had withdrawn a request it had made to the United Nations for money to fund its elections, after refusing to accept UN conditions, including media reforms and security issues.

-by Sapa

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