Source: No talk shop – President | The Herald March 12, 2019
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe and South Africa Bi-National Commission, whose third session commenced yesterday, should not be a mere talk shop but a platform to transform the two countries’ economies, President Mnangagwa has said. He said Zimbabwe remained willing to promote and facilitate multi-dimensional trade and investment with South Africa.
President Mnangagwa said this last night at State House during a dinner he held for his counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue hence my administration will escalate the present amicable relationship with South Africa, geared towards mutual cooperation,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said there was need not to take the bilateral relations for granted because detractors of the two countries were always at work.
“Our relationship, like crops, requires constant cultivation and watering. Come rain or sunshine, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that it remains vibrant, yielding a good harvest for our people. More importantly, let us ensure that our relations and historical bonds transcend generations and grow stronger with the passage of time,” said President Mnangagwa.
He commended South Africa for always standing by Zimbabwe even in immense hardships caused by the imposition of illegal sanctions by the United States and the European Union.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to his counterpart for denouncing the sanctions and his unequivocal call for their unconditional removal.
Responding to his counterpart, President Ramaphosa called for the implementation of the several agreements the two countries had signed to date.
“Bilateral trade between our countries has increased steadily and it is presently spreading into new areas. To date, we have 45 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between our two countries and it is essential that we prioritise their implementation. I am informed that through the successful engagement at the level of our ministers there is clear agreement on increasing investment in numerous sectors of our economy, such as energy and infrastructure, to improve trade and facilitate regional integration,” said President Ramaphosa.
He called for the expeditious implementation of the one-stop border facility at Beitbridge to enhance trade.
“Zimbabwe is a gateway to the region and to the continent. We therefore need to finalise the envisaged one-stop border post project at Beitbridge which will facilitate far more efficient trade between our two countries. When it comes to issues of peace and stability Zimbabwe remains a strategic and dependable partner,” said President Ramaphosa.
He commended the historical relations between the two countries and pledged continued friendship.
“Our fortunes remain bound together. Our visit to Zimbabwe to attend the third session of BNC is a clear statement of our shared commitment to working together. We must employ the same resolve with which we fought the scourge of apartheid to combat the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality. We must use the BNC mechanism to consolidate and deepen our bilateral relations,” he said.
President Ramaphosa congratulated President Mnangagwa, who is set to take up the chairmanship of Sadc’s Organ on Defence, Politics and Security this year.