DEMOCRATIC Alliance (DA) MP Sandy Kalyan says President Cyril Ramaphosa should not make any financial commitments to Zimbabwe because of what she calls the country’s continued campaign of political repression as well as South Africa’s escalating debt burden.
Ramaphosa arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday night to co-chair the Bi-National Commission (BNC) with his Zimbabwean counterpart President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Relations between the two countries are conducted through the BNC which was established in 2015. South African exports to Zimbabwe totalled R30.8bn while imports from Zimbabwe amounted to R3.6bn in 2018.
Kalyan said Ramaphosa could not continue funding a country that oppresses dissenting voices while also compounding South Africa’s fiscus.
“South Africa cannot afford to compound our own fiscal problems by draining our fiscus to prop up the state repression in Zimbabwe. Economic prosperity in Zimbabwe depends on a solid foundation of good governance in the country, and the Ramaphosa administration must therefore support efforts to strengthen democracy in that country,” said Kalyan.
“Ramaphosa must use the current bilateral talks to reinforce pressure on the country to cease its repression of dissenting voices and political opposition.
“The lives and the freedom of a nation hang in the balance. The DA stands firmly behind the people of Zimbabwe and supports the continuation of sanctions against members of the brutal military regime until democracy is restored in Zimbabwe and its people are freed from state violence and political repression,” added Kalyan.
Ramaphosa’s delegation includes the ministers of finance – Tito Mboweni; home affairs – Siyabonga Cwele; deputy minister of social development – Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and defence and military veterans – Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
According to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, South Africa and Zimbabwe are signatories to 45 agreements which include trade and investment, labour, migration, defence, water and the environment.