South Africa’s ruling African National Congress yesterday urged the European Union and the United States of America to urgently lift economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, accusing the economic powerhouses of bullying Harare.
“It can no longer be correct for the European Union to treat us like small boys and girls when we are equal countries and partners in the global world. We are crying on behalf of 16 million Zimbabweans. They are displaced, with four million of them in South Africa. That is creating regional instability,” ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete addressed a crowd of protesters at the EU offices in Pretoria.
“The sanctions are undermining efforts to stabilise the region and on the continent. It is undermining the economic growth of Zimbabwe. That country is naturally gifted in terms of natural endowments. It also has the wonders of nature like the Victoria Falls and others. Now the tourism is stagnant there, it is zero. Industries are no longer working.”
Legoete said the sanctions were targeted at late former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
“Now Mugabe is no more. May his soul rest in peace. It’s only his wife [Grace Mugabe]. You cannot place the 16 million Zimbabweans on sanctions against a wife of former President Mugabe. May we respect him and let him rest in peace. We are begging you, not as children of a lesser god, but as an equal partner we are saying lift the sanctions,” he said.
The United States and the EU have maintained “targeted sanctions” on Zimbabwe – citing human rights abuses and lack of democratic reforms.
A crowd of Zimbabwean nationals based in South Africa marched with ANC members to the US Embassy, then to the EU delegation’s offices.
Rutendo Matinyarare of the Zimbabweans Unite Against US War Sanctions said the excuse that the sanctions are “targeted” against the ruling elite did not hold water.
“The sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal. We are here to cry for the rights of Zimbabweans, by allowing Zimbabweans to have a voice. We want Zimbabweans to talk about the pain and the suffering they are going through because of these sanctions. We also want to say those sanctions must end today for Zimbabweans to have better futures,” said Matinyarare.
The EU in South Africa’s deputy head of delegation Raul de Luzenberger received the protesters’ memorandum but declined to speak to numerous local and journalists who were outside the EU premises.-ANA