Zim's poll cash plea must go to Sadc: SA

HARARE - Any request for assistance on financing the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe would have to be directed to Sadc for it to determine how best this request should be addressed, South Africa Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said yesterday.

The minister said this in reply to a question in Parliament by Congress of the People MP Smuts Ngonyama, who wanted to know whether the recent Zimbabwean request for a R920million loan would be granted despite the reports from pro-democracy movements about the increasing degrees of violence leading up to the elections.

However, Gordhan said discussions on a possible extension of a R500m credit line were ongoing.

This would be used to stimulate the extension of longer-term loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in Zimbabwe and would be made available at the level of the central banks of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Gordhan said discussions about possible financial assistance to Zimbabwe followed a resolution of the extraordinary summit of the Sadc heads of State and government in Swaziland in March 2009.

The summit resolved to provide support to Zimbabwe’s short-term economic recovery programme.

At the summit, South Africa and other countries pledged to explore a number of possible support measures for Zimbabwe, including budget support grants, a line of credit and export credit facilities.

“In September 2012, the South African Finance minister met his Zimbabwean counterpart, Tendai Biti, to discuss the type of support South Africa could offer to help alleviate Zimbabwe’s fiscal challenges and to stimulate increased liquidity in the domestic financial market,” Gordhan said.

“These discussions included the possibility of the extension of the R500m credit line, which will be used to stimulate the extension of longer term loans to small and medium-size enterprises in Zimbabwe.

“The facility will be made available at the level of central banks, with the necessary guarantees and underwriting by the respective governments.

“These discussions have not been concluded.” — BD Live

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