SA President Jacob Zuma arrived in Harare today, to a hearty welcome from the crisis hit Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, at the opening of a Bi-National Commission in Harare.
“We are happy you are still in one piece in spite of what the papers are writing everyday, before telling the embattled Zuma, following the release of a damning #state capture report, in a speech that they needed each other.
“Comrade president we need each other even more than ever before,” Mugabe told his SA counterpart, who arrived in Harare today for the Zim/SA Bi National Commission talks.
Both leaders are facing growing calls for them to step down, Mugabe from #ThisFlag protesters and Zuma in the wake of the #StateCaptureReport.
However according to News 24 a rather subdued Zuma, delivered a lacklustre speech talking about the following issues:
Drought has hit southern Africa hard
“Our region has been hard-hit by El Nino,” Zuma said. He said the drought had “eroded decades of hard-won developmental gains, putting great strain on the fiscus of most governments.” No word on how corruption might have also imposed a strain.
We’re pleased about the appointment of a new UN secretary general
And the fact that the new BRICS development bank is establishing its Africa regional centre in Johannesburg. Old news.
Mugabe’s time as chair of the AU in 2015 was very positive
Said Zuma: “Your contribution as chair of the post… has put the region and the continent on a different platform of economic and political stability.” Excuse me?
Zuma went even further, saying Zimbabwe had been “instrumental towards realising the dream of a prosperous African continent.”
We need to focus on economic co-operation
If so, why didn’t a business forum bringing together representatives from Zimbabwe and South Africa manage to make it today? Zuma did not mention this but Mugabe was clearly disappointed.
Business communities “stand ready to play their part” in deepening co-operation between South Africa and Zimbabwe
This is where the speech gets interesting. Zuma said the business communities would play their part if the governments “create conducive environments for ease of doing business”. OK, so he didn’t mention bond notes, the SI 64 of 2016 ban on many SA imports and indigenisation. In fact Zuma went straight on to point to the need for a one-stop border post at Beitbridge, a recurring topic in these talks. But he said the need for conducive environments was “not limited” to that. He also made a fleeting reference to “policy certainty”. Was this a friendly bit of brother-to-brother advice in the light of Zimbabwe’s looming economic meltdown? – News 24