Motlanthe welcomes Zim breakthrough
9 February 2009
President Kgalema Motlanthe says he is heartened that Zimbabwe's parliament passed amendment 19 of its constitution last week, laying the basis for an inclusive government in that country.
The Bill now awaits the signature of President Robert Mugabe to enact into law after 72 senators who were in the House last Thursday voted for its passage with no votes cast against it.
During his state of the nation address to Parliament in Cape Town on Friday, Motlanthe said that following the political parties agreeing to form a government of unity, the work of rebuilding of Zimbabw'e economic and social infrastructure must begin, and that South Africa stood ready to help rebuild the neighbouring country.
"Now the work of reconstruction can start in earnest; and South Africa stands ready to assist wherever we can," Motlanthe said, adding that there was an "urgent need to assist in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in that country."
He said he was confident that the international community would partner with the people of Zimbabwe as they "blaze out along a new trail".
Zimbabwe's Lower House had earlier endorsed the deal, which will see the country's main political parties forming a coalition government, expected to be in place by the end of this week.
Under the new legislation, the current president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, will retain his seat, while Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction, will be appointed as prime minister. Arthur Mutambara of the breakaway MDC faction will become deputy prime minister.
The swearing in ceremony is expected to be held on Wednesday.
Motlanthe applauded former South African president Thabo Mbeki and his negotiating team for working tirelessly to bring the process to a successful conclusion.
He added that the hard-won deal had delivered "the ultimate prize that has always been the wish of the people of that country and the sub-continent as a whole: that is, a stable and legitimate government geared to address the challenges that the people face."