Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, centre, walks with President Robert Mugabe at a ceremony to rename Harare International airport to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare last week.Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly fled to Namibia after the army took control of Harare and the Namibian government on Wednesday said it was concerned about unfolding events in its southern African neighbour.

Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said in a statement that although Namibia has noted that the situation in Zimbabwe was relatively calm, it was expected that democratic institutions in Zimbabwe would continue to carry out their constitutional functions.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the situation created uncertainty, which was not conducive to peace, stability and consolidation of democracy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and urged all parties concerned to fully adhere to the relevant provisions of the SADC Treaty and the African Union Constitutive Act.

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Namibian authorities have not confirmed that Grace Mugabe is there.

Zimbabwe’s military has seized control of state television ZBC and said it is acting against “criminals” surrounding 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe. But a military spokesman has denied this is a coup despite rumours that Mugabe and his family are under house arrest.

Events have unfolded after the head of the defence forces, General Constantino Chiwenga, warned the army would take “drastic action” if factions in the ruling Zanu PF did not stop purges against party members with military backgrounds.

This followed last week’s sacking of war veteran Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid a struggle for party leadership with Mugabe’s wife Grace, who is supported by the youthful “G40” party faction. Mnangagwa fled to South Africa but is rumoured to have returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday to take control of government.

Earlier on Wednesday, South African President Jacob Zuma also expressed concern over the situation in Zimbabwe. Zuma was dispatching special envoys to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.

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In a statement shortly after noon, the SA Presidency said Zuma, in his capacity as the Chair of SADC, was sending special envoys, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the Minister of State Security, Advocate Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe, as well Angola.

Zuma reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.The SADC continues to monitor the situation closely.