SOUTH African opposition leader, Mmusi Maimane has urged Pretoria to cut diplomatic ties with Harare over the disputed August 23 and 24 elections despite that country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa issuing his congratulatory messages.

On Monday, Ramaphosa congratulated Emmerson Mnangagwa after he was declared winner of the disputed election.

Election observers have issued damning reports criticising the polls as not credible, inviting an angry response from Harare and the ruling Zanu PF party.

Maimane’s Build One South Africa (BOSA) party also criticised the polls as not free or fair.

In a statement, BOSA spokesperson, Sbu Zondi said Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) needed to convene for an extraordinary summit to discuss the Zimbabwe question.

“BOSA calls on South Africa to declare the Zimbabwean elections a sham and to immediately cease diplomatic engagement with the government of Zimbabwe,” Zondi said.

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“It is time for Sadc nations to take a strong position on irregular and unfair elections.

“The elections in Zimbabwe have not been free, fair or transparent. South Africa and the Sadc region cannot proceed with business as usual while there is a democratic crisis in a key Sadc nation.”

Harare has reacted angrily to criticism and singled out Sadc head of observer mission Nevers Mamba as a puppet and biased opposition supporter.

Citizens Coalition for Change leader, Nelson Chamisa, has refused to accept the election results.

“Our nation cannot ignore the democratic crisis on our doorstep because conflagration from the collapse of Zimbabwe creates secondary fires in our nation. On the election day there were members of a security organisation known as Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) who participated in voter intimidation and harassment at various polling stations,” Zondi added.

FAZ is a Zanu PF affiliate organisation.