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Zim crisis ‘a tragedy’ says Law Society

Blessing Zulu

THE Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has expresses concern at the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, saying it calls for outside intervention. In a statement this week,

Susan Abro and Edward Ngubane, LSSA co-chairpersons, called on African countries to intervene.

“We believe the time has now arrived for Sadc regional leaders, the AU and the Nepad secretariat to do some tough talking with the Zimbabwe government in terms of immediately returning to a culture of human rights by all government and quasi-government structures,” they said.

“Coupled with this, freedom of speech should forthwith be guaranteed as the very first step towards restoring law and order in that country.”

The LSSA joins a growing list of South African groups and influential individuals in condemning the government and calling for a tough line.

Jonathan Oppenheimer, heir to the Oppenheimer dynasty, described the political and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe as “a tragedy”. He was speaking at the fourth African Economics Editors Conference on “wealth creation” in Johannesburg last month.

The Oppenheimer family controls two of Africa’s richest companies, Anglo American Corporation and De Beers.

Also joining in the condemnation of Zimbabwean authorities was the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) which condemned the arrest of ZCTU leaders last month.

“The country has deteriorated so fast that it is now on the brink of total collapse,” Cosatu said.

It said regional countries had also been drawn into the crisis through the influx of refugees.

The LSSA said President Thabo Mbeki’s policy of quiet diplomacy did not seem to be achieving the desired results. Given the mandate of the Nepad programme, it said, the turmoil in Zimbabwe was undermining any positive efforts towards achieving its goals.

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