It is a crucial time for the 51 million people of South Africa, the 1 billion people of Africa and a large section of the world – as President Jacob Zuma gears up to present his state of the nation address.
This is because South Africa is Africas powerhouse and a major player in world affairs. Of the millions who have placed their hopes on Zuma, there is a section that has sought protection from South Africa having left their countries because of political and economic pressure.
In this crucial time in the Southern Africa region, special focus is on Zimbabwe and Swaziland – two neighbours beset by political and economic problems which are a drawback to South Africas progress.
Transform SA spoke to the leadership of the Diaspora from these countries, to find out what they would like to hear from President Zuma, and this is what they had to say:
Lucky Lukhele of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN):
Our hope is that as the Swaziland Solidarity Network a South Africa based organisation our President His Excellency Jacob Zuma will be more precise and drive for action regarding the resolutions taken in Mangaung about Swaziland.
They are the most progressive resolutions ever taken by the ANC on Swaziland. All what we expect is action on those resolutions. And we appreciate that they are not outside the SADC Protocol. All we need is for the President is to direct the Ministry of International Relations to take action on the resolution.
We call on South Africa to open up support for Comrade Amos Mbedzi, a South African hero who is wrongfully and illegally incarcerated in Swaziland by an oppressive regime that is denying people of their human rights whilst squandering the people’s wealth.
We note with hope that the South African government constantly intervenes for citizens convicted in other countries for drug related crimes. We urge the South African government to do the same for its citizen and hero Comrade Amos Mbhedzi. He did not embarrass anyone. He is our Che Guevara.
It is a fact undisputable that South African Business is the biggest loser when it comes to this. There are many South African companies which have interests in Swaziland.
If Swaziland is ushered into democracy, Business South Africa wins. It means that there will be fewer people fleeing the country into South Africa; Swaziland would have good schools so that Swazi children would not have to go to South African schools in order to get a good education.
This appeal also goes to our neighbours Mozambique.
Philani Ndebele of the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF):
The Zimbabwe Diaspora expects President Jacob Zuma (as the facilitator of the Zimbabwe GPA) to be clearer and accountable on the progress made so far in addressing the Zimbabwe political impasse as it continues to affect the region.
The President in his State of the Nation address must highlight the urgent need to respond immediately to the impending constitutional stalemate between the principals in Zimbabwe.
He needs to persuade intentional spoilers to follow the process of the GPA and work with Zimbabwe in ensuring a constructive outcome to the Constitution making process, a level playing field for a Referendum and an election whose outcome will be accepted by all parties.
The President must highlight the urgent need to deploy the SADC Technical Team to work alongside the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and seek ways of expanding this team to support the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ahead of the much anticipated Constitutional Referendum and Elections.
He must also unveil a plan that seeks to involve civil society in SADC decision making processes particularly with regards to Zimbabwe.
This will ensure a full implementation of the GPA guidelines an investigation on how security formations such as the Joint Operations Command are undermining and circumventing the transition process.
This also includes an immediate deployment of South African and regional civic monitoring groups to ensure the creation of an enabling environment towards free and fair elections.
Written by: Musa Ndlangamandla – Transform SA Ad Sales/Editorial Executive.