While South Africa is still reeling from the epic comments made by president Mugabe against South Africa some days back, where he said South Africa needed another liberation since the white folks still own most of the land, the unrepentant Mugabe has gone on air again to air his displeasure at the way South Africa handles issues when it comes to dealing with other neighboring countries especially since it is the most developed country in the region. Despite the outrage his words caused, Mugabe went on air again to say:
“Right now some of us are complaining about the bigness of South Africa, a giant establishing itself,”
He said this to Journalists in Gaborone, Botswana following at a “familiarization visit” to the Southern African Development Community headquarters there today.
Mugabe said this same issue was discussed last month at the SADC meeting on its trade protocol in Harare. “That is what we discussed at the meeting, that if we are trying to establish our industries, they are blocked.”
He said a Zimbabwean pharmaceutical company was trying to export to South Africa, but that it was having some difficulties which was largely caused by the fact that South African authorities were not making thing easy for them.
“We produce some drugs, and they are in demand, and we want to send them to South Africa. Then those officials in trade say: ‘We will only receive them if they come by air.’ We say it is much more costly to send them to South Africa by air. We have planes, yes, but the planes are expensive, we can send them by road, but they say no.
“You see, that is contrary to free-trade principles, there are lots of things we still have to discuss among us,” he said.
He also mentioned that the rest of the SADC region, like Botswana, Malawi and Tanzania, import South African products such as beer.
“It is a South African drink, it is a one-way thing,” he said.
Mugabe said sometimes it had nothing to do with the government, because often it was companies and not the government who feared the competition from Zimbabwe which seems to be rising irrespective of the fact that they are still behind South Africa. Mugabe conceded that SADC had been slow at getting people and trade moving between its countries.
At a SADC meeting in August, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma, Mugabe took a stab at South Africa for not signing the regional trade protocol, and also accused South Africa of one-way trade.
Mugabe paid a state visit to South Africa recently with a trade and business delegation. Issues such as Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, which forced foreign companies to cede 51% of its business to Zimbabweans, were discussed.
When asked about the legacy he intended to leave behind as SADC’s chairperson, Mugabe said he was an individual who was in this position only for a year, and countries acted together in crises.
“That is how we do it in SADC, so there is nothing that is a typical Mugabe thing. It is SADC, SADC, SADC,” he said.