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Mbeki's position

In the South African government, it is President Thabo Mbeki who personally determines foreign policy. As a result of that, analyses of South Africa's policy on Zimbabwe often centres on his person. He has been under fire over his policy of "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe.

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Countries in the West are convinced South Africa is as the regional powerhouse able to call Mugabe to order. They see its stance on Zimbabwe as a test case for "good governance" and "democracy" as promised in Mbeki's NEPAD project. They find it hard to understand why Mbeki is "soft" on Mugabe, and calls have been made to make crucial - financial - Western support for NEPAD conditional on South African policy on Mugabe.

At home Mbeki is criticised not only by the combative opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, but more seriously by civil society organisations and the ANC alliance partners COSATU and the SACP.


Quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe: a case study of South Africa in Africa
Tom Lodge, 2004-10-27
What is Mbeki doing? Is he a realist or a cautious idealist?

Time to jettison quiet diplomacy
Helen Suzman Foundation, 2003-03-01
The authors think Mbeki's policy on Zimbabwe failed.

More publications on the relation Zimbabwe / South Africa


March 9, 2005
Why South Africa does not criticise Mugabe - Joseph Winter, BBC News

February 24, 2005
Mbeki Takes Swipe At Zimbabwe - / Financial Gazette

February 22, 2005
Mbeki criticises US over Zimbabwe - BBC News

January 28, 2005
SA Turns the Heat On Slightly As It Faces Election Decision - / SouthScan

December 8, 2004
Only Mbeki Can Rescue Zimbabwe - / Business Day

November 7, 2004
Time to Raise Our Voices Against the Failure of Quiet Diplomacy - / Sunday Times