Ramaphosa  expected   on Monday

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, pictured, is expected in the country next week on Monday for the third session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC), which will among other things enhance business relations between the two countries.

Deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that Ramaphosa will be in the country on Monday next week. “The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected in the country 11 March 2019 and will be on a two-day working visit. The two heads of State and government are scheduled to discuss bilateral issues agreed earlier on during the inaugural BNC meeting and the subsequent meetings.

“President Emmerson Mnangagwa is geared to revive the economy through enforcing regional and international cooperation following many years of isolation. South Africa is our biggest trading partner in Africa and we expect discussions to focus around how the two countries can improve their trade ties and grow their economies,” Mutodi said.

According to the Foreign Affairs and International Trade ministry, a team of senior government officials from South Africa will be in the country this week ahead of Ramaphosa’s visit.

“The Third Session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) will be held on 12 March 2019 at Meikles Hotel in Harare. The meeting will be headed by the two countries’ heads of State and Government…Mnangagwa, and his South African counterpart…Ramaphosa.

“The BNC is the highest bilateral framework of cooperation between Zimbabwe and South Africa. It will be preceded by a Ministerial Meeting on 11 March 2019, and a Senior Officials meeting on 7 and 8 March 2019,” the ministry said.

South Africa has been a crucial business partner to Zimbabwe following years of economic meltdown. Millions of Zimbabweans fleeing the economic pressures at home are living in South Africa where they are working in various sectors of that country’s economy.
World leaders have been pressuring South Africa, which is Africa’s second largest economy, to assist Zimbabwe politically and economically.

Calls for such intervention increased in January following protests that led to the death of at least 17 people at the hands of alleged State security agents. There are claims the opposition leader Nelson Chamisa will likely use Ramaphosa’s visit to approach him over the country’s political environment, which has immensely affected economic growth and the country’s efforts to engage with other countries around the globe.

Chamisa, who challenged Mnangagwa’s last year presidential win, recently rejected the Zanu PF leader’s call for a meeting to discuss the framework for possible dialogue among political actors in the country. He, however, set conditions for that dialogue, which include the release of activists arrested following deadly protests in January and the need for a neutral convener.


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