South African political parties had mixed feelings about the apparent military 'coup' in Zimbabwe that has resulted in President Robert Mugabe being put "under house arrest".
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in a statement said Zimbabweans had a chance to choose a new direction.
"This will allow the people of Zimbabwe to choose a new direction for their country, and to free themselves from the tyrannical reign of Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF. True democracy is adhering to the will of the people, not the internal politics and arrangements of liberation movements".
The Economic Freedom Fighters said that Mugabe should hand over political power to the next generation.
Mugabe should not allow his name to be used for the further degeneration of a country he led to political liberation, the EFF said.
Mugabe and his family have been under military guard as the army also took over the state broadcaster earlier, in what many have described as a coup.President Jacob Zuma announced that he had spoken to Mugabe earlier on Wednesday.
Mugabe apparently indicated to him that he was confined to his home but that he was fine.
Zuma, as chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), deployed a special envoy to Zimbabwe. He was sending Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Bongani Bongo to Zimbabwe to meet Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.
Special envoys would also be sent to Angola to see President Joao Lourenco, who is the SADC's chair in charge of politics' defence and security to brief him on the situation.
Zuma called for calm and restraint in Zimbabwe.
Reacting to Zimbabwe, the South African Federation of Trade Unions said the alleged coup was a blatant attack on democratic rights, motivated by factional fighting within the ruling class and ruling party Zanu-PF.
"The army actions are not intending to save Zimbabweans from the total collapse of their economy and political system but are meant to reinforce a faction that too has played a critical role in sending millions of Zimbabweans out of their country as economic refugees".
With regards to the taking over of the state-run broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Amnesty International's regional director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said: "At this tense time, it is essential that the military ensure the safety and security of all people in Zimbabwe - regardless of their political allegiance - and refrain from any action that puts lives and human rights at risk".
Muchena said military officials had to uphold human rights, including the right to liberty, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly."The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe's international and regional human rights obligations and commitments," said Muchena.