Pretoria – International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has told her visiting counterpart, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Frederick Shava, that Pretoria is grateful for the supportive role played by the neighbouring country in arresting the scourge of illegal migration.
“Dear Minister, I’m sure you are aware that effective management of immigration has been an ongoing challenge for our government,” Pandor said in Pretoria where she co-chaired the mid-term review of the Bi-National Commission (BNC).
“We’ve recently established a border management agency and we hope it will vastly reduce illegal migration and improve efficiency. I must thank you and your government for the support you have given us in this endeavour,” she said.
Pandor said the review meeting gives the two neighbour countries an opportunity to “reboot and reset our programmes, to better respond to the challenges that have emanated” from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am pleased to recall that despite the constraints of the pandemic, total trade between South Africa increased from a quantum of R38 billion in 2020 to 47.5 billion in 2021. I trust that our delegations will align our planning to enhance this positive development and I note in the figures that the surplus lies with South Africa, and we would like to see greater benefit to Zimbabwe’s economic sectors as well.
“Of course, our cooperation and partnership is not only limited to bilateral relations. We also share common values on regional, continental and global governance issues of mutual interest,” she said.
Pandor also expressed gratitude to Zimbabwe for the support given to South Africa when it served on the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
Shava, a seasoned diplomat, was appointed by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year, following the death of the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.
At the time, Shava was Zimbabwe’s representative to the UN in New York. He has also served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
Spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Livit Mugejo said the purpose of the mid-term review is to review progress made in implementing bilateral programmes between the two countries under the Bi-National Commission framework.
“The mid-term review will also act as a preparatory meeting for the fourth session of the Bi-National Commission which is expected to be held later this year.
“The meeting will afford the ministers the opportunity to discuss pertinent bilateral issues between Zimbabwe and South Africa, including migration trade relations and the proposed dates for convening the Bi-National Commission, among other things,” Mugejo said.
Numerous Zimbabweans living in South Africa are in limbo, after the South African government announced that it would not be extending the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP), which ended on December 31, 2021.
The almost 200 000 permit-holders were given a 12-months grace period to regularise their stay with another category of permit.