The regionally appointed mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, has not played much of a role lately in helping to resolve the political problems faced by the inclusive government.
A political analyst has said Zuma's extended absence from Harare has clearly shown that negotiations can continue without him.
Zuma has not travelled to Harare for several months while the parties struggled to complete a draft of the Constitution that will eventually be voted on in a referendum, the next step according to the SADC negotiated Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Commentator Lameck Mahachi said the South African president has become "irrelevant" in the Zimbabwean context and we should consider alternative institutions to assist in resolving the crisis.
"Zuma has not been in the picture for a long time and negotiations went on without his participation. Maybe the African Union or the United Nations would be more helpful. It is disappointing because we thought he would be the one to move things forward," Mahachi told SW Radio Africa.
Regional leaders are due to meet at the next ordinary SADC Summit, scheduled to take place in Maputo on August 17th and 18th. And President Zuma is expected to report on the progress made towards completing Zimbabwe's new constitution and on the implementation of SADC's Roadmap to Elections.
But Mahachi said not much progress has been made in terms of democratic reforms and Zuma will most likely point to the Constitutional reform process as a success. "Nothing tangible has changed and the SADC team that was to help implement the GPA has not been heard from," Mahachi explained.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomão had been expected to visit Harare before the coming SADC Summit to assess the political situation and progress in the implemention of the GPA. It is not clear whether the visit is still in the cards.