SOUTH Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to lead a high powered delegation to Zimbabwe next month for meetings to discuss several bilateral issues affecting the two countries.
In a statement, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said top on the agenda would be the issue of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
“We are preparing for a bi-national meeting with Zimbabwe on March 12, 2019. Our President (Ramaphosa) will lead the delegation to Harare. I thought by now sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe Government and its people would be lifted to enable the country to start afresh after all the challenges they have gone through,” she said in a statement posted on the department’s official twitter account.
“We call on EU and particularly the United Kingdom (UK) to give the Government and the people of Zimbabwe a chance to change their situation by urgently lifting the sanctions. Without lifting the sanctions the Government of Zimbabwe will never be able to address its economic challenges, and this is compromising the political gains achieved since the coming in of the new President.”
Minister Sisulu said Zimbabwe and South Africa have strong ties dating back to the period of the liberation struggle.
She also wished Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is not feeling well, a speedy recovery.
Recently, President Ramaphosa took the campaign against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe to the 49th edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
Speaking at an International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting in Switzerland last month ahead of the WEF, President Ramaphosa said the sanctions against Zimbabwe were stifling the country’s economic growth.
President Ramaphosa said Zimbabwe was facing economic challenges which the world can assist in addressing if the sanctions were lifted.
Zimbabwe has been labouring under illegal Western sanctions which have hurt the economy for about 20 years.
The South African leader said while South Africa is in negotiations with Zimbabwe to find solutions to its challenges, the world must help the situation by lifting sanctions placed on the country.
Last year, President Ramaphosa, also called on the European Union (EU) to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe saying the country has turned a wonderful corner and needs support on its path to great reforms.
He made the call to the EU leaders during last year’s 7th South Africa European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium where they discussed a number of issues around trade, climate change, women’s rights among other global issues.
Upon his assumption of office as the Head of State and Government in November 2017, President Mnangagwa’s first foreign visit was to South Africa.
He met President Ramaphosa and former President Jacob Zuma as part of moves to deepen the economic ties between Harare and Pretoria.