From Kuda Bwititi in PRETORIA, South Africa
BILATERAL relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa are set to go a gear up today as President Mugabe and President Jacob Zuma lead deliberations to strengthen cooperation at the Bi National Commission in Pretoria.
President Mugabe, who left Harare yesterday, landed at Waterkloof airbase where he was welcomed by South Africa Minister of State Security Mr David Mahlobi.
Cabinet Ministers Dr David Parirenyatwa, Sydney Sekeremayi, Ignatius Chombo, and Mike Bimha were already in South Africa while Dr Joram Gumbo accompanied the President.
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is the Acting President.
The forum will see the two countries deliberating on existing bilateral agreements and explore strategies to boost economic growth.
The meeting will also take stock of progress made on the bilateral undertakings made during last year’s inaugural session held in Harare.
In a statement, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman Mr Bongani Ngqulunga said the meeting was geared at reinforcing bilateral ties between the two countries.
“President Jacob Zuma will on Tuesday, 3 October 2017, host the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency President Robert Mugabe, during his official visit to South Africa to attend the Second Session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) scheduled to take place in Pretoria.
The BNC session, which will be co-chaired by President Zuma and President Mugabe, will afford an opportunity to review the state of the bilateral relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
The BNC will further provide a platform to strengthen and deepen the warm and cordial bilateral relations between the two countries as well as to review and determine the actual progress made on bilateral undertakings and commitments made during the inauguration Session of the BNC in October 2016.”
Mr Ngqulunga said the meeting would also focus on international affairs.
“President Zuma and President Mugabe are also expected to deliberate and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual concern, particularly peace, security, stability and development in the SADC region and some parts of the continent.”
South Africa and Zimbabwe have good bilateral political, economic and social relations fortified by strong historical ties.
The two countries do not only share strong historical relations, but also economic cooperation.
Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners on the continent with trade statistics showing annual growth.
According to the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency, Zimbabwe exported goods worth $1,1 billion to South Africa between January and July against imports of $1,3 billion this year.