A senior African National Congress (ANC) delegation has departed for Zimbabwe on Tuesday to meet with the top brass of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

Last week, the National Executive Committee of the ANC resolved to send senior leaders to Harare following a crackdown on dissidents by ZANU-PF.

Secretary General, Ace Magashule, party’s International Relations Head, Lindiwe Zulu and Peace and Stability Head, Tony Yengeni are part of the delegations.

Dozens of activists, opposition politicians and journalists in Zimbabwe have been abducted or arrested in recent weeks.

Ace Magashule leads special delegation to Zimbabwe: 

‘Tread carefully’

According to political analyst, Alexander Rusero, the ANC delegation meeting with ZANU-PF should tread carefully when discussing issues affecting that country. He says ZANU-PF has already set the tone by consistently denying there is a political crisis or violations of human rights.

The political analyst says the ANC should meet all stakeholders, unlike the special envoys sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa who only meet with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But ZANU-PF released a statement clarifying that the ANC will be in Harare to meet their politburo only. Rusero says this meeting cannot be expected to provide any solutions except call for unity and stability.

ANC delegation to Zimbabwe warned to tread carefully: 

Intimidation of journalists

Meanwhile, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called on senior government officials in Zimbabwe to stop the abuse and intimidation of SABC journalists, including anchor Peter Ndoro and SABC Foreign Editor, Sophie Mokoena.

Sanef chairperson Sbu Ngwala says the organisation is concerned by online attacks on social media, especially of women in the media.

“Those behind the abuse are intimidating, sowing disinformation and discrediting the integrity of news media outlets that report on Zimbabwe’s political crises. Sanef notes, in particular, the tweets by George Charamba, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President of Zimbabwe and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information of Zimbabwe, who is behind the attacks on the two SABC staffers, assisted by Nick Mangwana, Secretary for Information in Zimbabwe. They are creating significant professional harm. We are saying this must stop.”

Sanef believes that this hostile environment is a direct attack on freedom of expression.