By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa moved his weekly Cabinet meeting to Thursday in order to give space to marathon meetings he is expected to hold with visiting South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa, who arrives Monday.
State media reported that Mnangagwa had give a directive that Cabinet will be moved from the traditional Tuesday to later in the week.
Six South African ministers – Lindiwe Sisulu (International Relations and Cooperation), Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula (Defence and Military Veterans), Rob Davis (Trade and Industry), Siyabonga Cwele (Home Affairs), Blade Nzimande (Transport) and Bogopane Zulu (Deputy Minister for Social Development) were expected in Harare, Sunday with an advance party of top bureaucrats already in Zimbabwe for close to a week now.
Zimbabwe is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and Harare has been in discussions with Pretoria on how the regional economic powerhouse can help its ailing neighbor.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko was quoted as having confirmed the South African President’s itinerary, Saturday indicating the Bi-National Commission (BNC) will focus on extending economic relations between the two countries.
“Trade cooperation between the two countries is at a high level to the extent that South African exports to Zimbabwe in 2018, amounted to approximately R30,8 billion (about US$2,1 billion), while imports from Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R3,6 billion (US$250 million), thus placing Zimbabwe among South Africa’s top trading partners on the continent.
“South Africa and Zimbabwe have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle,” Diko reportedly said.
Two weeks ago Mnangagwa received another regional leader Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana during which another round of agreements were signed. The Zanu PF leader has been under pressure at home and abroad but has received critical support from regional leaders with growing calls from the continent for sanctions against his administration recently extended by the US and the European Union to be removed.