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SAfrica to convene urgent meeting on Zimbabwe food crisis



South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa.  has called an urgent ministerial meeting on the food and health crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a government spokesman said Thursday, saying people were beginning to "die of starvation."

"There are very clear signs ... people are beginning to die of starvation," said government spokesman Themba Maseko.

South Africa and the the Southern African Development Community The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is an inter-governmental organization. It furthers socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African countries. It complements the role of the African Union.  (SADC SADC Southern African Development Community
SADC State Agriculture Development Committee
SADC St Albans District Council (administrative authority for St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK)
SADC Sector Air Defense Commander
) could not just stand by and do nothing, he added.

President Kgalema Motlanthe Kgalema Motlanthe is a prominent South African political personality and is currently the Secretary-General of the African National Congress. Motlanthe grew up influenced by the revolutionary ideologies of the Black Consciousness Movement which was led by Steven Bantu Biko.  will meet with ministers to look at how South Africa could work with neighbouring countries, donors and aid agencies to address "the urgent need for food and other humanitarian needs," Maseko said.

Zimbabwe is appealing for international aid after declaring a cholera epidemic a national emergency, the country's state-run Herald newspaper said Thursday. The outbreak has so far claimed 565 lives, according to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 UN figures.

Although South Africa was closely monitoring the situation, Maseko said the government would stand by a decision to withhold nearly 30 million dollars earmarked for agricultural aid until a unity government was formed.

South Africa in October approved 300 million rand (30 million dollars/23 million euros) in agricultural aid to Zimbabwe, subject to conditions, to help short-term food needs.

Maseko said South Africa would pressure Zimbabwe's political leaders to sign a crucial constitutional amendment within the next few days.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF ZANU-PF Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front  party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC (1) (Mobile Daughter Card) See riser card.

(2) See Meta Data Coalition.
) have agreed a draft, which sets out the powers of the new prime minister, but the amendment has yet to be finalised.

"We will continue to put pressure on the principals to sign the agreement as soon as possible," said Maseko.

A deal signed on September 15 that provided for the formation of a unity government has stalled as parties failed to reach a consensus on the allocation of key cabinet posts.

Opposition leader and prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai has called for former president Thabo Mbeki to step down as mediator.

But Maseko said the SADC and the South African government still had full confidence in him.

"There is no basis for us to begin to doubt the facilitation process of Thabo Mbeki," he said.
Copyright 2008 AFP Global Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Dec 4, 2008
Words:355
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