Johannesburg — Recent comments attributed to a member of President Jacob Zuma’s technical team on the situation in Zimbabwe were “unfortunate”, the Presidency said on Sunday.
“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,” it said in a statement.
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.