July 15, 2004

South Africa to assist in elections?

Senior members of the Zanu-PF executive were briefed about the meeting by Nkomo. "Zanu PF has asked for the ANC to help to win next year's election and my understanding is that the ANC has in principle agreed to send between four and six 'strategists' to assist it during the forthcoming election," a senior official said. The ANC secretary-general, however, said that no such agreement had been made, but added that there was an "open invitation" to Zanu PF to study the South African party's success. He confirmed that a Zanu PF delegation had visited the ANC headquarters holding discussions with the top six ANC office-bearers, including Mbeki. "I was at that meeting. I am not at liberty to say what we did talk about, but it is true they were here to congratulate the ANC, not to ask for help. I am sure they will do that when it comes closer to the election," said Motlanthe.

Asked whether the ANC had agreed to make strategists available, he said: "There is no truth to that. We did not agree to that." Nkomo, widely regarded as a possible successor to Mugabe, said Zanu PF and the ANC had "close ties and shared vision in the region". Motlanthe also told that Zanu PF delegations regularly visited the ANC to study organisational and strategic issues. "The sister parties always have access to the ANC. They send people. Some go to the provinces, some go to headquarters." He added that the ANC had sent a 10-member delegation to the 2000 election in Zimbabwe and would probably send a similar or larger delegation to next year's election to "gather first-hand information". (The Sunday Times, Johannesburg)

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