via SA, Zim hold defence, security talks – New Zimbabwe 05/05/2015
SOUTH AFRICA and Zimbabwe will on Wednesday meet in Pretoria to discuss common challenges facing both countries in areas of defence and security as well as to propose solutions to the problems, SA Defence and Military Veterans spokesperson Joy Peter said Tuesday.
The South Africa-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS), an annual bilateral meeting held to discuss matters of mutual concern for the neighbours, will meet for their 9th session, she said.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will officially open the session which has been preceded by a preparatory meeting of senior officials which ends on Tuesday.
Pretoria and Harare have shared strong ties since 1994 when bilateral relations between them were normalised. These ties have seen the signing of 27 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and agreements, Peter said.
“The signing of the agreements has necessitated regular interaction between various South Africa’s and Zimbabwe’s government ministries — including exchange visits between the cabinet ministers of the two countries,” she said.
As influential members of the Southern African Development Community, South Africa and Zimbabwe continue to play a constructive role in ensuring that peace, security, stability and prosperity prevail in the region, Peter added.
However the two countries have had security problems before. In 2004, the CIO in Zimbabwe arrested a South African spy Aubrey Welken in Victoria Falls and then rounded up a number of locals said to have been his agents.
The three, who were later jailed, were Godfrey Dzvairo, then-ambassador-designate to Mozambique, banker Matambanadzo and Itai Marchi, a director in Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party.
They were accused of being part of a spy ring run by businessman Philip Chiyangwa, then a provincial Zanu PF chairperson for Mashonaland West. Chiyangwa was subsequently cleared by a court after he was severely assaulted by the CIO.