President Jacob Zuma has assured the Zimbabwean government of a cordial business relationship, but with a condition – that the Mugabe-led government deals with Zimbabwe’s murky investment policy.
Zuma who arrived Harare on Thursday for the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) said during his inaugural speech that South Africa will play a great role in seeing the economically distressed Zimbabwe resuscitated by investing in the country’s economy.
Zuma demanded more clarity on Zimbabwe’s murky investment policy pointing out how investors think twice in doing business in Southern African countries after President Mugabe passed a law that forced foreign firms to forfeit 51% of their shares to black indigenous Zimbabweans.
“Our business community stands ready to play their part if, as government, you improve the ease of doing business and policy certainty,” Zuma reportedly said.
Mugabe, on the other hand, was reported saying business investment in Zimbabwe by South African are in safe hands.
“Our thrust towards industrialisation through value addition and beneficiation of available resources offers vast opportunities for joint ventures and investment partnerships. We wish to see more South African investment here as much as we wish to see more Zimbabwean investment in South Africa. Let us work together to improve the flow of investments in both directions…,” Herald newspaper reported Mugabe saying.
Zuma, according to a report from the presidency, has acknowledged the 38 pages memoranda of understanding and agreements to be signed between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
These memoranda covered a broad range of areas, which include among others, trade and investment, immigration and consular matters, defence, agriculture, the environment, energy, health, as well as arts and culture.
The Presidency also said Zuma and Mugabe directed the relevant ministries and departments to conclude negotiations on all outstanding agreements and memoranda as Mugabe promised to work on Deal with Zimbabwe’s Murky Investment policy, as was urged by Zuma.
“As part of strengthening co-operation in infrastructure development and transport, a bilateral air services agreement between the government of the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe was signed by Ms. Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport and her counterpart, Dr. Joram McDonald Gumbo, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development of Zimbabwe.”
Other outcomes of the BNC included the decision to establish a joint trade and investment committee by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and the urgent need for the establishment of a one-stop border post at Beitbridge-Musina.
The president returned to Pretoria after the successful inaugural session. He was accompanied by six ministers – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Rob Davies, Malusi Gigaba, Dipuo Peters and Mildred Oliphant.