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Cablegate: Zimbabwe Featured at South African Cabinet Meeting

P 201524Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6487
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY
AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG PRIORITY
CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS PRETORIA 002546


DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S J. FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL ZANU SF ZM
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE FEATURED AT SOUTH AFRICAN CABINET MEETING

1. On November 19, 2008 the South African Government's (SAG)
cabinet discussed Zimbabwe and other issues. The SAG
released a statement on November 20. Text related to
Zimbabwe follows:

2. Begin text: Cabinet is extremely concerned about the
political impasse that is creating a humanitarian crisis in
Zimbabwe. The reported outbreak of cholera in parts of that
country is a clear indication that ordinary Zimbabweans are
the true victims of their leaders' lack of political will and
failure to demonstrate seriousness to resolve the political
impasse. The Government is disappointed to note that
political interests have taken priority at the expense of the
lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

South Africa calls on the leaders of Zimbabwe to take urgent
steps to finalise the amendments to their constitution, the
allocation of the remaining Cabinet posts and the formation
of a representative Government without any further delay and
before the situation of ordinary Zimbabweans degenerates any
further. No amount of political disagreement can ever
justify the suffering that ordinary Zimbabweans are being
subjected to at the moment. Like SADC, South Africa would
like to see a political settlement sooner rather than later
so that the region could start focusing on the most urgent
measures needed to rebuild Zimbabwe's economy.

Cabinet decided that South Africa should immediately assist
the people of Zimbabwe to address the cholera outbreak as
well as scaling up malaria control activities in the cross
border area. South Africa is already in discussions with
multilateral agencies such as SADC and the World Health
Organisation in this regard. A strategy will be put in place
on an urgent basis to provide assistance to the people of
Zimbabwe and to provide support to our health authorities in
the Limpopo province to enable them to cope with the serious
situation.

An Interdepartmental Task Team will be set up urgently to
identify and implement measures to ensure that the reported
service delivery crisis in Zimbabwe does not lead to
increased cross-border movement to the health facilities in
the Limpopo province that are already over-stretched. The
team will be led by the Department of Health and will include
the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Water Affairs and
Forestry, Provincial and Local Government. Other departments
will be joining the team on a needs basis.

The meeting noted that the window of opportunity for South
Africa to provide assistance to the agricultural sector in
Zimbabwe had passed due to the failure of Zimbabwean
political leaders to form a representative government.
Cabinet decided that the approved R300 million will be
retained for agricultural assistance to Zimbabwe. However,
this money will be only disbursed once a representative
government was in place and in time for the next planting
season in April 2009. The Minister of Agriculture and Land
Affairs will prepare a proposal on South Africa's
contribution to address the immediate humanitarian situation
in Zimbabwe.

3. End text.


BOST

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