How South Africa can Nudge Zimbabwe toward Stability

South Africa should have every incentive to help its neighbour Zimbabwe avoid tipping into collapse. Having favoured quiet diplomacy for decades, Pretoria has now adopted a much more critical stance toward Zimbabwe’s failures of governance. It has also taken the first steps toward coaxing Harare into convening a national dialogue, ending political repression and embarking on meaningful economic reforms. These steps have had limited effect, however, as Harare continues to block South African efforts to engage with Zimbabwe’s opposition figures and bring them into the same room with their ZANU-PF counterparts for meaningful dialogue. Pretoria should not give up. It should work with Western donors on a roadmap for reforms that could lead to sanctions and debt relief. It should also help Harare see the importance of finally embarking on this long overdue journey. The alternative to reform is likely to be more instability in Zimbabwe and quite possibly in the region.