No date yet for Zimbabwe summit
07 June 2013, 18:11
Pretoria - A new date has not been set for a regional summit
to assess Zimbabwe's readiness for general elections, International Relations
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Friday.
Regional mediators are consulting to set a date for the summit,
after one scheduled for Sunday was abruptly called off on Thursday, she told
reporters in Pretoria.
"The date for such an extra-ordinary summit always gets
decided upon by the availability and programmes of heads of state, creating
space for this meeting. It’s not an ordinary, scheduled meeting."
Southern African Development Community leaders were speaking
to Zimbabwe about a date.
President Jacob Zuma - facilitator in the Zimbabwean impasse
- and other regional leaders would attend.
Media reports on Friday stated that Sunday’s meeting was
called off because Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, 89, informed SADC he would not be
available for the summit.
The summit was expected to discuss a range of issues,
including the cash-strapped Zimbabwean government's efforts to raise a US132m election
Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court ruled last Friday that
Mugabe should organise elections no later than July 31.
The polls aim to end an uneasy SADC-brokered unity
government between Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
which was formed in 2009 after deadly disputed elections.
Central African Republic
Turning to reports that deposed Central African Republic
president Francois Bozize was in South Africa, Nkoana-Mashabane said the ousted
leader only submitted a request for refuge.
"When he left his country and ended up in Cameroon, the
first place he wanted to come to was South Africa. However, there were offers
on the sidelines of an ECCAS summit that central African leaders thought it
best for him to be accommodated where he is," said the minister.
"The other country which made an immediate offer for
him was Benin. We are not in the business of jostling for who takes over former
presidents. There were many offers for him."
Bozize, 66, fled the CAR in the wake of a military coup on
March 24, after thousands of fighters from the Seleka rebel coalition launched
an onslaught on the capital Bangui, accusing him of breaking an earlier peace
Thirteen South African soldiers were killed and 27 injured
in the take-over bid.
The CAR issued an international arrest warrant for Bozize on
charges, including 22 murders and 119 "summary executions", as well
as numerous abductions and the destruction of nearly 4000 homes.
Nkoana-Mashabane said she would not speculate on whether
South Africa would arrest Bozize if he set foot in the country.