President Thabo Mbeki must not be distracted by noises in his attempts to facilitate a solution in Zimbabwe.
A section of the South African and international media, some in Cosatu and the SACP and DA have been very critical of South Africa's role as a facilitator in Zimbabwe.
These noises were well coordinated to distract Mbeki from this special but difficult assignment.
But this quiet diplomacy has been used before by the ANC during the Codesa talks when Nelson Mandela even called FW de Klerk a man of integrity.
Quiet diplomacy was also applied by South Africa in Burundi, where Jacob Zuma was a facilitator though he was recalled after boycotts by other rebel groups.
Mandela applied the same diplomacy in prison, negotiating terms for a peaceful transition from apartheid.
Had Mbeki been distracted he would have failed to get the MDC and Zanu-PF to sign the memorandum of understanding.
If talks fail it is Zimbabwean parties not Mbeki who will lose respect and integrity.
South Africans, the progressive media and civil society must encourage these talks.
As South Africans and Africans we are proud of this son of our soil.
Phillip Njomane, Newlands