Zuma jets off to Zimbabwe

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is expected to travel to Zimbabwe later today on a working visit.

During his two-day visit, the President will meet with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Muthumbara.

He is expected to be briefed on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Mr Zuma is visiting the country is his capacity as the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and in the context of South Africa's commitment to assisting in ensuring the agreement is implemented by all parties.

The three leaders formed a government of national unity in February following a contested run off election last year. However, its implementation has been hampered by a number of issues, most recently the appointment of the Central Bank Chief and the Attorney General.

This will be Mr Zuma's first working-visit to Zimbabwe since his inauguration as South Africa's President in May.

His findings will likely inform discussions at the next SADC summit next month.

In March this year, after the formation of the inclusive Government, the regional bloc met at an extraordinary summit in Swaziland to discuss an economic rescue package for Zimbabwe where they pledged to help Zimbabwe fight the scourge of economic sanctions.

To this end, each member state, with the exception of Madagascar which was reeling from unconstitutional regime change, pledged assistance.

The summit constituted a committee of finance ministers and others to lobby for the removal of the United States sanctions law, ZDERA, and all other forms of sanctions. The lobby was to go beyond traditional donor countries to encompass countries like China, Russia, Japan and other emerging economies.

SADC member states also pledged to galvanise regional private sector participation to promote foreign direct investment and joint ventures in Zimbabwe in addition to lobbying companies within their individual borders to invest in Zimbabwe.

However, these commitments were made on condition that Zimbabwe's leadership demonstrate there implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

President Zuma will be supported by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Evaluation and Monitoring Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Presidential Advisors Charles Nqakula and Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu.

While in Harare President Zuma is expected to meet all political players in the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe and also to participate in the 99th Annual Harare Agricultural Show.