Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Two new envoys from South Africa and the Netherlands have pledged to deepen relations between their countries and Zimbabwe, particularly in the areas of trade and supporting youths.
The ambassadors said this in interviews after separately presenting their credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday.
Newly appointed South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mrs Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi, said bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa were deep-rooted and the trade relations enjoyed between the two countries will not be affected by the recent unrest spawned by the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma.
Violence broke out last month in Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal provinces as some elements protested against a 15-month jail term imposed on former President Zuma for contempt of court.
Said Ambassador Mabudafhasi: “We have been working over that (the unrest) and it will not affect trade. That is why you saw people in communities being very supportive and they said they condemn it and that it will never happen again. There is now peace and people are now gaining, they are in peace.
“Zimbabwe and South Africa, we are actually one; we have worked together during the struggle, we have been fighting together, doing everything together, building together, helping one another, we learnt from each other, we support each other.
“To us those boundaries that are there, they do not mean that we are separated. As Africans, we see ourselves as one nation. It is just boundaries that say this is South Africa and this is Zimbabwe but our tradition as Africans is that we are one.”
Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Margaret Verwijk, said she will work hard to enhance trade between Netherlands and Zimbabwe.
“Today is International Youth Day so it is an important day for the youths of Zimbabwe. We discussed the importance that Netherlands attaches to working with youths, having a youth strategy and giving them their full potential in society,” said Dr Verwijk.
“We also discussed the priorities that we have in the area of bilateral relations and trade. Of course, the Netherlands is very much known for providing knowledge in the area of agriculture, in particular horticulture, and you may know that we have planes full of beautiful flowers grown in Zimbabwe sent to Netherlands and sold in Netherlands.
“In addition to agriculture, we have the water sector, we have an expertise we are happy to share. Another area in our relations is energy and gas. There is a lot of opportunities for innovation.”
Ambassador Mabudafhasi, who served as deputy minister in at least two portfolios, replaced veteran diplomat, Ambassador Mphakama Mbete while Dr Verwijk is taking over from Mrs Barbara Van Hellemond, whose tour of duty in Harare ended last month.