Human Rights Watch has urged newly elected President Jacob Zuma to restore South Africa as a leader in the fight for social justice on the African continent. The nation’s reputation was badly damaged under the presidency of Thabo Mbeki who supported the dictatorial rule of his friend, Robert Mugabe, in Zimbabwe and allowed opposition leaders to be beaten and killed. Zuma has been notably more concerned with the situation in Zimbabwe because he realizes the continual misrule by Mugabe has saddled his nation with three million refugees and placed a new strain on the need to provide jobs for South Africans. Georgette Gagnon, of HRW, hoped “with new leadership in South Africa there is great expectation for a rebalancing of policy towards South Africa using its moral, political and economic authority and leadership in southern Africa to promote respect for human rights, good governance, and democracy in Zimbabwe.”
Hopefully, President Mugabe will be more inclined to carry out the power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he knew no money would be forthcoming from South Africa without a real commitment on his part to practice democracy rather than talk about it.