Vimbai Mutsvenguri Herald Correspondent
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Mr Julius Malema has called on the South African government to support Zimbabwe’s economic transformation, which is now in full swing.
Mr Malema said this on Saturday during his party’s sixth anniversary celebrations at the Kanyamazane Stadium in Mpumalanga. He said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa should find ways of assisting Zimbabwe so that it overcomes its economic challenges, which date back to the era of former president Robert Mugabe.
“(President) Ramaphosa, we ask you to help our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe.
“Their problem is our problem because when we had problems with the apartheid movement they received us in their country and helped us.
“It is now our turn to return the favour,” said Mr Malema.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, implying that any challenges in Harare will have a direct impact on Pretoria’s economy.
Zimbabwe imports over 60 percent of products from its neighbour and there was an outcry from that country’s businesspeople when Harare introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, now upgraded to Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017, which restricted imports of goods that can be made locally.
Since the coming in of the new dispensation, President Mnangagwa has emphasised the need for engagement and re-engagement with all countries of the world.
The engagement programme targets deepening relations mainly with fellow African countries while the re-engagement focuses on the West, which had slammed the door on Zimbabwe since the land reform programme in year 2000.
As part of the economic diplomacy offensive, Zimbabwe and South Africa signed a number of economic cooperation deals in March during the third edition of Bi-National Commission (BNC).
The BNC saw the signing of agreements such as the Beitbridge One-Stop Border Post; National Railways of Zimbabwe revitalisation; the Mozambique-Zimbabwe South Africa (MOZISA) power transmission; permits for Zimbabweans living in South Africa; and financial cooperation.
President Ramaphosa described the third edition of the BNC as “the most successful BNC so far”.
Zimbabwe and South Africa enjoy cordial relations which date back to the days of their liberation struggles when they helped each other to fight injustices.