PRES­I­DENT ZUMA JETS IN TO­DAY Six min­is­ters ac­com­pany SA Pres­i­dent on Zim visit

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Mashudu Net­sianda/Harare Bureau

SOUTH African Pres­i­dent Mr Ja­cob Zuma is ex­pected in the coun­try to­day ahead of the of­fi­cial open­ing of the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion in Harare to­mor­row.

The BNC is a struc­ture through which Zim­babwe and South Africa el­e­vated their po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions to pres­i­den­tial level from the min­is­te­rial rank where they re­posed for years.

Pres­i­dents Mu­gabe and Zuma co-chair the com­mis­sion, which re­quires that the Heads of State meet an­nu­ally to mon­i­tor progress on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of agreed projects.

New agree­ments, cut­ting across var­i­ous eco­nomic sec­tors, are ex­pected to be sealed at the end of the meet­ings to­mor­row.

For­eign Af­fairs sec­re­tary Am­bas­sador Joey Bimha yes­ter­day con­firmed Pres­i­dent Zuma’s visit.

“He is com­ing to­mor­row (to­day),” he said. “The Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion started on Mon­day with the meet­ing of se­nior of­fi­cials. To­day (yes­ter­day), they are wind­ing up to come up with a doc­u­ment for pre­sen­ta­tion to the min­is­ters who are meet­ing to­mor­row. The Pres­i­dents will meet on Thurs­day.”

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Zuma will be ac­com­pa­nied by six Cab­i­net Min­is­ters when he vis­its Zim­babwe to­day.

In a state­ment, the SA Pres­i­dency an­nounced that Pres­i­dent Zuma will be ac­com­pa­nied by Min­is­ters of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co­op­er­a­tion, Ms Maite NkoanaMasha­bane; De­fence and Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans, Ms No­siviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Trade and In­dus­try, Dr Rob Davies; Home Af­fairs, Mr Malusi Gi­gaba; Trans­port, Ms Dipuo Peters and Labour, Ms Mil­dred Oliphant.

South Africa and Zim­babwe have good bi­lat­eral po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial re­la­tions that are un­der­pinned by strong his­tor­i­cal ties dat­ing back to the years of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

“South Africa is to fur­ther strengthen re­la­tions with Zim­babwe to a higher level this week, when Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma vis­its Harare to at­tend the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the South Africa-Zim­babwe Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion, to take place on 3 Novem­ber 2016. The two coun­tries will hence­forth con­duct their bi­lat­eral re­la­tions through a struc­tured Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion (BNC) signed in 2015 dur­ing Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s State visit to South Africa,” said the SA Pres­i­dency.

To date, the two coun­tries have signed more than 38 mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing and agree­ments, which were co­or­di­nated through the then Joint Com­mis­sion for Co­op­er­a­tion (JCC) and the Joint Per­ma­nent Com­mis­sion on De­fence and Se­cu­rity (JPCDS) which were es­tab­lished in 1995 and 2005.

The MoUs and agree­ments cover a broad range of ar­eas, which in­clude trade and in­vest­ment, im­mi­gra­tion and con­sular mat­ters, de­fence, agri­cul­ture, the en­vi­ron­ment, en­ergy, health, as well as arts and cul­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to a pro­vi­sional pro­gramme from the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, to­day there would be a min­is­te­rial ses­sion that would be fol­lowed by the of­fi­cial open­ing of the BNC to­mor­row. Am­bas­sador Bimha said all out­stand­ing agree­ments had to be sealed and im­ple­mented. “Some plans and agree­ments have not pro­gressed beyond the signed doc­u­ments,” he said. “That must change in the new dis­pen­sa­tion of the BNC. BNC is no more than a mech­a­nism, it is an in­stru­ment which on its own can­not de­liver on our co­op­er­a­tion. We have agree­ments that are still un­der ne­go­ti­a­tion, we have signed agree­ments that await im­ple­men­ta­tion. It is us who have to use it to achieve the plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion of our pro­grammes of co­op­er­a­tion.” Am­bas­sador Bimha added: “The estab­lish­ment of the BNC rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant qual­i­ta­tive up­grad­ing of our two coun­tries’ al­ready solid re­la­tions. Zim­babwe does not have this type of forum of co­op­er­a­tion with any other coun­try. The BNC with South Africa is a first and speaks vol­ume about the na­ture and char­ac­ter of the close and cor­dial re­la­tions we have and we are com­mit­ted to strengthen to greater heights.” Head of se­nior of­fi­cials from South Africa Mr Xolisa Makaya said the estab­lish­ment of the BNC came after the re­al­i­sa­tion that re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries could no longer be man­aged at a level be­low Heads of State. “O u r d e l i b erat i ons over the two days should af­ford us the op­por­tu­nity con­clude our to ne­go­ti­a­tions so that these agree­ments can be signed in the not so dis­tant future,” he said.

“Un­due de­lays will work against our his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural ties. The BNC cre­ates an op­por­tu­nity for both sides to ex­am­ine the scope of our re­la­tions over a wide range of is­sues. “The four clus­ters will al­low us the plat­form to de­lib­er­ate on sec­tor spe­cific mat­ters to high­light and un­der­score our suc­cesses while on the other hand, in­ter­ro­gate what­ever im­ped­i­ments that work against our de­sired out­comes.”

Mr Makaya added: “We should iden­tify the key sec­tors and the scope of our sec­toral co­op­er­a­tion in or­der to deepen and strengthen our re­la­tions for the mu­tual ben­e­fit of both coun­tries. Our deliberations need to be out­comes based, mea­sur­able and achiev­able given that BNC is con­vened on an an­nual ba­sis. We should be able to mon­i­tor and eval­u­ate progress.”

Apart from pro­mot­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the var­i­ous sec­tors of Govern­ment, the BNC also seeks to fa­cil­i­tate con­tact be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors of the two coun­tries.

Dur­ing Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s visit last year, Mem­o­randa of Un­der­stand­ing were signed on diplo­matic con­sul­ta­tions; cus­toms ad­min­is­tra­tions, water re­sources man­age­ment and trade co­op­er­a­tion.

South Africa and Zim­babwe not only share strong his­tor­i­cal re­la­tions but also eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion to the ex­tent that the economies of the two coun­tries are his­tor­i­cally and in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said there was a lot the two coun­tries could learn from each other. South Africa is Zim­babwe’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner in Africa. There are over 120 South African com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness in Zim­babwe in var­i­ous sec­tors in­clud­ing min­ing, avi­a­tion, tourism, bank­ing, the prop­erty, re­tail, con­struc­tion and the fast food sec­tor.—@ mash­nets.

A po­lice of­fi­cer car­ries tyre de­flat­ing spikes at a road­block along Khami Road in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day. The spikes were banned in 2014 after a se­ries of ac­ci­dents were caused by po­lice throw­ing the spikes un­der com­muter om­nibuses.

Am­bas­sador Joey Bimha

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

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