Pretoria – The presidency has noted the “unfortunate” comments attributed to Lindiwe Zulu, President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said on Sunday.
Zulu is reported to have said President Zuma had telephoned Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe to express his “unhappiness” on the situation in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is currently preparing to host elections on 31 July 2013, a date which has been critisised as being too early by some people including Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete citing under-preparedness. However, President Zuma labelled Zulu’s comments regarding him calling President Mugabe as “inaccurate”, claiming that her comments were “regrettable and unfortunate”.
This was after Zulu’s comments angered President Mugabe who is reported to have called Zulu an “idiotic streetwoman” and also lambasted President Zuma at a rally saying “I appeal to President Zuma to stop this woman of theirs from speaking on Zimbabwe”.
In the statement released by Maharaj, he said the presidency “has noted with great concern, recent unfortunate statements made on the situation in Zimbabwe, which have been attributed to a member of the technical team supporting the facilitator”.
South Africa was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assist the Zimbabwean political parties to resolve their differences.
President Jacob Zuma appointed a three-person facilitation team to provide technical support. The team comprises Charles Nqakula, High Commissioner to Mozambique, as the Head; Mac Maharaj, Special Envoy and spokesperson to the President and Lindiwe Zulu, International Relations Advisor to the President.
The technical team supports the facilitator and cannot impose its views on Zimbabwe nor make public pronouncements. Only President Zuma has the mandate to speak on Zimbabwe on behalf of SADC on facilitation issues, said the Presidency.
A news agency reported on Friday that Zulu had said there were challenges leading up to the July 31 elections in Zimbabwe, following problems with early voting.
“A number of statements have been made during the facilitation process, which have been unauthorised and which are regrettable and unfortunate. Some of the utterances have also been inaccurate.
“The Presidency wishes to correct in particular the reports this weekend that President Zuma telephoned President Robert Mugabe to express his unhappiness about preparations for the Zimbabwean elections. No such telephone call has been made. The report is incorrect,” the Presidency said.
President Zuma has also been alerted to inappropriate postings in the social media on the Zimbabwean situation.
The Presidency said South Africa remained fully committed to the warm historical relations with Zimbabwe and wished the people of Zimbabwe well as they prepare for the elections. – seniorjournalism.com and sanews.gov.za