I will just summarize this a bit. President Mbeki lied to the world saying that he was going to deal with Mugabe using "Quiet Diplomacy" – that everything would be done behind closed doors. I don’t know if people were just plain stupid, or what, but it was quite evident that Mbeki was not quietly working against Mugabe, but that in fact he was working quietly to help Mugabe succeed.
I recall that at one point, the Zimbabwe govt asked South Africa for a bailout of R1 billion due to their imploding economy. Our Govt was busy planning to help them. There were news reports later that this was scuppered – but I am not sure if I trusted those news reports. For years however, it was as if every commentator and every Western Govt were composed of complete and utter fools, believing that somehow the lying ANC of South Africa would actually do something honest and good in Zimbabwe. But of course, that never happened.
In fact, when Mugabe cheated at the elections, as he always did, even foreign observers from Europe, etc would say that the election was NOT free and fair. However, South Africa alone, stood by Mugabe, saying the elections were free and fair.