SA will help rebuild Zimbabwe

2009-02-06 12:28

Cape Town - President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday welcomed the political breakthrough in Zimbabwe and said South Africa would do all it can to help to rebuild its crisis-ridden neighbour.

In his State of the Nation address, Motlanthe congratulated all political parties in Zimbabwe on adopting a constitutional amendment that paves the way for a unity government to take power next week.

"We are truly heartened that, yesterday, the Zimbabwean Parliament passed Amendment 19 of the Constitution, laying the basis for an inclusive government," he said.

Motlanthe said the hard won deal had delivered "the ultimate prize that has always been the wish of the people of that country and the sub-continent as a whole: that is, a stable and legitimate government geared to address the challenges that the people face".

The caretaker president paid tribute to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki for brokering the accord that will see President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai govern together after years of political conflict.

"Special mention in this regard is due to the SADC (Southern African Development Community) negotiator and facilitator, former president Thabo Mbeki and the team that tirelessly and patiently helped to bring the process to a successful conclusion."

Rebuild Zimbabwe

Motlanthe said the time had come to rebuild Zimbabwe, and called on the international community to help.

"Now the work of reconstruction can start in earnest; and South Africa stands ready to assist wherever we can.

"In this respect, there is urgent need to assist in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in that country.

"We are confident that because it cares, the international community will partner the people of Zimbabwe as they blaze out along a new trial."

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a deep economic and humanitarian crisis which the international community blames on misrule by Mugabe.

Under the deal, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, will remain president, while Tsvangirai will be sworn in as prime minister.