South African President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of Southern African Development Community (SADC), has sent special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding political situation in the country.

South African President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of Southern African Development Community (SADC), has sent special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding political situation in the country.

“The President is sending the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the Minister of State Security, Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet with President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF),” the Presidency said today.

According to the Presidency, President Zuma had spoken to President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday, who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was “fine”. South Africa is also in contact with the ZDF.

Read:Zimbabwe army takes over state broadcaster but denies coup

president Jacob Zuma
File picture: South African president Jacob Zuma reacts as he answers questions from opposition parties in parliament, Cape Town, 06 August 2015. President Zuma faces widespread criticism in parliament with questions being raised over alleged, a national electricity crisis out of control, rising unemployment and an ailing economy topping the list of failures under his tenure. Photo: ANP/EPA/Nic Bothma

According to the SA government news, the special envoys will also be sent to the Republic of Angola to see President Joao Lourenco, chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to brief him on the situation.

President Zuma reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.

Read: War veterans on the war path in Zimbabwe

SADC said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.The situation is tense in the capital as the political future is uncertain. The US embassy in Harare has issued a warning saying it will be closed today and continues to closely monitor the situation. The EU delegation is also closed today.

Military takeover

The military in Zimbabwe took control of the country’s state broadcaster in the capital, Harare. The military seized the state TV and also blocked off access to government offices, but denied it was taking over government.

Military spokesperson, Major General S.B. Moyo made a televised statement early today saying President Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

He added that the army is targeting “criminals around” President Mugabe, who are “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.

Maj Gen Moyo said “as soon as they are done the situation will come to normalcy”.

“We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual,” he noted.

Maj Gen Moyo’s announcement follows General Constantino Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), press statement this week on the political situation in the country. Gen Chiwenga issued a warning that the military would “step in” if those responsible for “purging” in the ruling Zanu-PF party do not stop. Gen Chiwenga said the military will not hesitate to take corrective measures when they felt the gains of the liberation struggle were under threat.

President Zuma has expressed hope that developments in Zimbabwe would not lead to unconstitutional changes of government, as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.

According to SA government news, President Zuma urged the government of Zimbabwe and the ZDF to resolve the political impasse amicably and urged the ZDF to ensure that the maintenance of peace and security in the country is not compromised.

Last week, President Mugabe fired his Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on allegations of disloyalty and deceit. The two had been political allies for more than 40 years.