South African President, Jacob Zuma, disclosed on Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe had been confined to his home but was in good health.
President Zuma’s statement came after he spoke with the long serving leader of Zimbabwe.
Zuma, who is the chair of the Southern African Development Community, said he was sending special envoys to Zimbabwe to meet Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force, which seized power in Harare on Wednesday morning.
The full statement on the situation in Zimbabwe from the South African presidency reads:
President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of SADC (the Southern African Development Community), is sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The president is sending the minister of defence and military veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the minister of state security, Adv Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to meet with president Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.
President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today, who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine. South Africa is also in contact with the Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF).
The special envoys will also be sent to the Republic of Angola 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 has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.
SADC will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Mugabe was sacked from power by the military on Wednesday morning and placed under house arrest, following a bloodless coup in the impoverished African nation.
The military placed Mr. Mugabe, 93, and his wife, Grace, 52, under house arrest on Wednesday, after first claiming that it was not a coup, but an insurrection to get rid of “criminals” around the president in power for 37 years.
The military said it was only targeting people close to President Robert Mugabe for causing “social and economic suffering”, but sources told Simon Ateba News Africa that the “old man has been arrested”.
Some Zimbabwean activists in Washington DC who had been advocating for Mr. Mugabe to go were told “Mugabe is gone”.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo read out General reading a statement on national TV early on Wednesday
Grace Mugabe receives kiss from husband Robert Mugabe in power for almost four decades.
The military coup came after Mr Mugabe sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, amid a row over succession. Mr Mugabe but Zimbabwe’s envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, said the government was “intact”.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (R) shares a joke with his vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa during Mugabe’s birthday celebrations at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo, February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the impoverished country’s political scene since independence from the UK in 1980.
BBC quoted the UK Foreign Office as urging Britons “currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer”, while the US embassy in Harare advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in place”until further notice.
Soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC broadcaster after armoured vehicles took up position on roads around Harare on Tuesday.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to “assure the nation that his Excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country,” he said.
“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”