- South Africa has today declared a cholera disaster on its border with Zimbabwe, but, President Robert Mugabe insists his country is now in control of the epidemic and that western powers are only using cholera as an excuse to topple him.
The news by the South African provincial government of Limpopo, comes in as the country now feels the strain of a spill-over from the epidemic, with more and more Zimbabwean refugees said to be crossing into the South African borders.
"The provincial government took a decision that the whole of the Vhembe district should be declared a disaster area," northern Limpopo provincial government spokesman Mogale Nchabeleng told the media today.
The declaration also follows Wednesday's visit by South African Health Minister Barbara Horgan to the district, to assess the situation. Eight people are so far reported to have died of cholera in Limpopo province, while 664 cases are said to have been treated. So far.
The epidemic is also reported to have spread into neighbouring Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana, but at lower scales. Also here, most cases are connected to Zimbabwean immigrants.
According to the United Nations, more than 16,000 cholera cases have been reported in Zimbabwe, and the number could be grow worse if the Harare government maintains its arrogance and dodges its own shadows to keep hold of the collapsing dictatorship. The UN also holds that the number of cholera cases is strongly underreported.
Nonetheless, in a statement today, President Mugabe continued his attack and mockery of Western leaders saying cholera was "no more in Zimbabwe". And therefore "now that there is no cholera there is no cause for war," the Zimbabwean President said.
Mr Mugabe said his doctors, with the help of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others had cured the outbreak, despite latest reports by the same UN agency that the situation was worsening.
Mr Mugabe's pretentious statement has been interpreted by his critics as another ploy to anger Western powers and create a new attention on his country that would play down on the political pressures.
Some close to 800 people are reported to have died from the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe - officially, that is - with most agencies fearing the real numbers could be thousands of deaths. Regional and international agencies meanwhile are hitting high political hurdles in their missions to help bring the Zimbabwean humanitarian crisis under control.
A power-sharing deal, signed in September between President Mugabe and his political rivals has not yet produced any fruits with talks always reaching a dead end on the allocation of ministerial positions, and, regional bodies divided on tougher action against Mr Mugabe.
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