United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Jim Risch has responded to South Africa’s claims that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were negatively affecting the SADC region.
This came after President Cyril Ramaphosa last Thursday called for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, which he said were exerting enormous pressure on his country. Ramaphosa said:
South Africa has always been very open to the inflow of people from various parts of the continent but, with the economic challenges that our people are now facing through unemployment and inequality, the pressure becomes even greater, not only on Zimbabwe’s economy, but also on a number of countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
They are also having a negative effect on us because as the sanctions weaken the Zimbabwean economy, Zimbabweans migrate to our country and others in the sub-region – to Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and they exert enormous pressure on us.
In response, Risch blamed South Africa for failing to provide leadership in the region, and its failure to hold Zimbabwean leaders to account. Said Risch on Twitter:
It’s not sanctioned individuals in Zimbabwe exerting pressure on South Africa, but a lack of regional leadership. South Africa must hold the Zim (Zimbabwean) government to its Constitution and help the Zimbabwean people achieve their democratic aspirations and corruption-free governance.
SADC designated October 25 as a day for solidarity against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States (US) at the turn of the millennium following the fast-track land reform during which reports of human rights violations were made.
The United Kingdom imposed sanctions on five individuals and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries and has claimed that the measures do not affect trade or economic development.