SA-Zimbabwe agreement inked after years of negotiation
HARARE: After five years of negotiations and a last-minute legal challenge, the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) which seeks to improve invest- ment between Zimbabwe and South Africa, was finally signed in Harare yesterday.
The signing was delayed so long because the Zimbabwe government did not want to protect the far ms of South Africans which had been seized in President Robert Mugabe’s land grab.
Until late yesterday, the signing of the agreement was under threat as some of these farmers asked the High Court in Pretoria to stop it.
They feared the treaty would deny them their legal rights to challenge the seizure of their land because they understood Bippa would only protect future South African investments in Zimbabwe.
But South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, confirmed at the signing in ceremony in Harare that his government had reached an out of court settlement with the farmers. This was because there was no basis for them to have challenged Bippa, he said. – Foreign Service