Cardinal asks South Africa to refuse aid to Zimbabwe

 Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, has called for the South African government to refuse Robert Mugabe's appeal for aid to his country. Speaking after a visit to Zimbabwe with a delegation from the South African Council of Churches, (SACC) the Cardinal told reporters: "Giving money to Mugabe can be compared to giving money to an alcoholic beggar who tells you he has given up drink and will spend the money on food." "Mugabe has never respected conditions attached to money lent to his government before, so there is no reason to think that he would do so this time." The Zimbabwean president is seeking a loan from South Africa to pay for electricity, fuel and food to offset chronic shortages. Cardinal Napier said Zimbabweans would be better served through donations to churches and humanitarian agencies because the government would probably squander the funding. The UN estimates that 700,000 Zimbabweans have been made homeless and jobless by Mugabe's Operation Drive Out Trash campaign of demolishing shantytowns. The SACC said in its report that the "deliberate destruction of the informal economy, which is meant to cater to economically vulnerable groups, is unparalleled in modern-day Africa." "A shocking sight greeted the delegation" when it entered Mbare township, 25 miles southeast of Harare, the report said. "Almost every yard was filled with rubble from the demolition of structures." Cardinal Napier said Mbare "was so full of rubble it looked like it had been bombed." Source: SACC/ZW News

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