The ruling party in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) expressed deep concern over the government of Zimbabwe’s reaction to protests that broke out on January 14 after a sharp fuel price hike was announced.
In a statement released on Thursday, the ANC said that the people of Zimbabwe were justified in protesting against the fuel price hike which would consequently raise the cost of living for the ordinary people.
The ANC also expressed concern with the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and said that political and economic situations in the two countries should be addressed urgently. The ANC statement reads in part:
In the wake of recent announcements of fuel price hikes, citizens have protested, with the tragic loss of life.
The fuel price hikes understandably have a dire impact on the cost of living of ordinary Zimbabweans. This is a matter of serious concern to the ANC.
South Africa has a proud record of working towards building a continent and world which is safer and better. It is therefore incumbent upon the ANC and the South African government to assist the people and leaders of the DRC and Zimbabwe to do everything in their power to bring about political stability and peace in their countries so that they can deal with the economic challenges they are facing.
All initiatives in this regard should be guided by the objectives of SADC and the African Union, in particular, the objective of the AU Agenda 2063, to silence all guns by 2020.
The ANC continues to engage with all political parties in Zimbabwe and the DRC, to encourage them to work towards a peaceful solution and political stability so that all efforts can go towards socio-economic development and reconstruction.
The ANC notes that unless the situations in both countries are attended to quickly and effectively, an increase in economic and political refugees is inevitable.
We, therefore, believe that it is in the best interests of the two countries and their neighbours, including South Africa, to explore all avenues, to ensure that the situations in the DRC and Zimbabwe are stabilised as soon as possible.
On January 14, the people rose spontaneously across the country after President Emmerson Mnangagwa unilaterally hiked the price of fuel by over 150%. The ensuing chaos led to the shooting and killing of 12 protestors while over 1000 have been arrested.
The brutal crackdown has also targetted opposition political figures and members of civil society organisations. Most of them have gone onto hiding.