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Eswatini: South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki called in to intervene

By Carien du Plessis
Posted on Monday, 12 July 2021 15:19

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki on 8 March 2013. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has been approached to help facilitate talks between government and civil society in Eswatini, following four days of violent protests in the absolute monarchy. It is understood that Eswatini's King Mswati III and prime minister Themba Masuku approached the former statesman; but Mbeki told them he would only agree if the process is led by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a source close to the process said.

A planned weekend visit by a SADC Troika delegation – consisting of foreign ministers from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe – did not take place. For the initial talks that were held last Sunday 4 July, only hand-picked civil society organisations were invited. Leaders from other NGOs ‘gatecrashed’ the meeting to convince ministers to include them.