Monday, 21 January 2019

SA REJECTS ZIM EMERGENCY $1,2 BILLION LOAN REQUEST


South Africa has said it rejected a request from Zimbabwe for an emergency loan of $1.2bn (£932m) in December.

Zimbabwe's government had hoped the cash would help stabilise the economy and resolve fuel shortages in the country.

South Africa did not have "that kind of money", a Treasury spokesman said. A fuel price hike imposed shortly after the request was rejected has led to violent clashes. Rights groups say at least 12 people have been killed.

They say many more have been beaten in clashes with security forces but there has been no official confirmation of this.

Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a steep increase last week, sparking angry protests in the capital, Harare, and the south-western city of Bulawayo.

On Twitter, he said he was cutting short his current foreign tour to return home "in light of the economic situation".
Police have been violently cracking down on the demonstrations, with reports of door-to-door searches and use of live ammunition.

The UN has called on the government to halt the "excessive use of force" by police. But the Zimbabwean government on Sunday said the security forces' actions were just "a foretaste of things to come".

News of the violent crackdown emerged despite the country's internet, including social media and messaging apps, being cut off.

Speaking to the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, a presidential spokesman blamed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the violence that has accompanied the protests.

"The MDC leadership has been consistently pushing out the message that they will use violent street action to overturn the results of [last year's] ballot," George Charamba said. bbc

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