sadc aid for zim

HELPING HAND: President Kgalema Motlanthe. 17/12/08. © Unknown.
HELPING HAND: President Kgalema Motlanthe. 17/12/08. © Unknown.

The SADC has launched a humanitarian campaign to assist Zimbabwe, President Kgalema Motlanthe said yesterday.

The SADC has launched a humanitarian campaign to assist Zimbabwe, President Kgalema Motlanthe said yesterday.

He told reporters in Pretoria that Zimbabwe was facing "serious humanitarian challenges" characterised by acute food shortages and the outbreak of cholera.

The SADC had decided to form the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development Assistance Framework under which all SADC member countries were expected to contribute. Countries were expected to rely on their own resources "to put in the pot for distribution in Zimbabwe".

Motlanthe said each country was expected to contribute in "accordance with resources and capabilities". Members of ZHDAF, made up of religious leaders and nonprofit organisations, would select a coordinator among themselves in a transparent and easy-to-monitor manner.

He said the SADC had welcomed the publication of Amendment 19 of the Zimbabwean constitution on Saturday.

The amendment effectively allows for the swearing in of a prime minister, a position likely to be taken by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Motlanthe said he was hopeful that a unity government would be formed in Zimbabwe by the end of the week.

Commenting on the R300million South Africa promised Zimbabwe earlier in the year, Motlanthe said the money was specifically for agricultural purposes.

Asked about lobbying to get President Robert Mugabe to step down, he said the SADC had not discussed this. "Our wish is that an inclusive government should be established sooner than yesterday. Whether Mugabe should go or not was never raised."

On allegations that Botswana was giving military training to MDC members, he said: "We never believed it as SADC. There is no substance to the issue." - Sapa

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