South African attempts to resolve the tensions in Zimbabwe's power-sharing government at a mid-August summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) were-predictably-unproductive. South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, has now set a 30-day deadline during which the three leaders of the coalition administration "must" resolve outstanding issues-specifically, the disputed appointments of Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ, the central bank), and Johannes Tomana, the attorney-general; the appointment of provincial governors; and the refusal of the president, Robert Mugabe, to appoint Roy Bennett, the nominee of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to the post of deputy agriculture minister.
It is unclear what action the South Africans and SADC will take if the mid-September deadline passes without any substantive progress, as seems likely. Mr Mugabe has clearly stated that there will be no more political reform until Western sanctions are lifted. SADC leaders have renewed their appeal to the US, EU, UK and Australian governments to lift measures, but there is little likelihood of progress on this front. Indeed, the US ambassador, James Ray, has flatly rejected any such moves until the Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed on September 15th 2008, is fully implemented.