Cabinet notes treatment of Cosatu delegation


Cabinet says it has noted the treatment of the Cosatu delegation by the Zimbabwean authorities.

Zimbabwe yesterday refused entry to the trade union federation delegation for the second time in three months.

Government spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe told journalists in Pretoria today that government would continue to work within the principles of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ensure Harare held free and fair elections.

The 20-member delegation was barred from entering that country following the same treatment they received last October, in their bid to hold meetings with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

"Government is of the view that Cosatu, like any other organisation has the right to decide to visit any country," Mr Netshitenzhe said.

However, he said in so doing it was necessary to observe the laws of the country concerned and international protocols.

"The judgement whether this kind of action has helped to advance the immediate challenge faced by SADC to assist the people of Zimbabwe in holding free and fair elections should be left to Cosatu itself," said Mr Netshitenzhe.

Mr Netshitenzhe said it was "presumptuous" to think that government had influenced the Harare authorities to bar Cosatu from entering Zimbabwe after Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said Cosatu should have consulted his department before their departure.

"It is presumptuous to think that government had influenced the way Zimbabwe authorities treated Cosatu following earlier pronouncement made by Zimbabwe on how they were going to treat Cosatu," he said.

Mr Netshitenzhe said government did not know what compelled Cosatu to go to Zimbabwe but Pretoria would work "within the collective of SADC" to ensure free and fair elections in Harare.

Zimbabwe is expected to go to the polls on March 31.