South Africa Remains Concerned Over Zim’s Political Situation – Minister
By News24 and Sunday Express
South Africa is in possession of its own researched document which shows why sanctions on Zimbabwe were imposed on the country by Western governments over the years – a document which Minister Naledi Pandor said she was finishing reading – and could release at any time.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Pandor make this revelation during Zimbabwe’s new Foreign Minister Frederick Shava’s working visit to South Africa yesterday – his first official visit to the country since taking up his position.
He replaced former Army General Sibusiso Moyo who passed away in January.
Minister Frederick Shava met with Minister Pandor in Cape Town and Minister Pandor said that she was in possession of the research findings – whose exact texture and wording are unknown to the public at present – but which document had unpacked contexts in which sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe, and how the country and its people was affected.
The revelation of the sanctions document drove an assortment of responses on the Sunday Express newsgroups after the joint press conference yesterday – and will be eagerly watched by all who have struggled to drive their points home over South Africa’s feelings and attitudes towards the sanctions debate over the years.
“They tried to nudge me at the G7 to say that the sanctions on Zimbabwe were not meant to be what they were said to be, but I said wait, I commissioned research and I have the findings. I am reading the document now,” Minister Pandor said.
She welcomed new minister Minister Shava and promised that South Africa was ready to help matters in assisting Zimbabwe.
“He’s the new minister of foreign affairs and I just want to ask him, how can we help Zimbabwe?” Pandor told reporters.
She said she raised “somewhat prickly issues” with her counterpart “because we’ll have the confidence of being on our own to discuss difficult issues that might not always be put in the public domain.”
One of the issues would be the number of illegal immigrants in South Africa.
“We want to be of help,” said Pandor.
“Their stability is very important to our stability. Their economic progress is important to South Africa’s economic progress and the South African have access, particularly to low-skilled, labour-intensive jobs”.
Another prickly matter was the shrinking freedom of the opposition and civil society in Zimbabwe. The regime has also been accused of cracking down on journalists and activists.
Critics have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of attempting to consolidate his power when he tried to extend the tenure of the country’s top judge.
The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but activists said it was the latest move to weaken state institutions and strengthen his position since taking office in 2017.
“In our discussions, we’ll raise the important need for the opposition to be able to function, but this is something we think Zimbabweans must discuss together,” said Pandor.
“We’d like Zanu PF to be open to engaging across parties, and not putting any conditions to that in the first instance.”
Last August, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed veteran politician, Sydney Mufamadi, former speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, and former minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, as special envoys to Harare after the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter protests erupted.
The envoys, however, were not able to meet opposition figures of civil organisations and returned after only a day.
“We’d also like to send back our three envoys because their visit was incomplete in that they met Zanu PF, but didn’t meet external stakeholders,” said Pandor.
“We think that’s necessary.”
Cape Town was Shava’s third stop on a regional tour this week. Earlier this week, he met with his counterparts in Namibia and Botswana.
Shava was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs and international trade minister in March this year after the death of Sibusiso Moyo who succumbed to Covid-19.
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