SA-Zim­babwe agree­ment inked af­ter years of ne­go­ti­a­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - STAN­LEY GAMA

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

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