THE Third Session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) officially got underway yesterday. It is commendable that President Mnangagwa and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, issued strong statements towards implementation and operationalisation of all deals.
The message from the two leaders is loud and clear. Emphatic! It is time for action. It is no longer time for talk shows! Things must not only start moving, but must continue moving to finality.
Until yesterday, Zimbabwe and South Africa sat on 45 deals dating back to the Robert Mugabe-Jacob Zuma era. The deals, as cited by President Ramaphosa, cut across various sectors of the economy including mining, investment, trade, customs, railways, air transport and water, among others.
When actioned, these deals could easily benefit and transform the lives of many in the two nations. What makes it easier to implement the deals is the level of friendship that exists between Presidents Mnangagwa and Ramaphosa. The relationship, as affirmed by President Ramaphosa yesterday, is built on a very firm foundation of trust and common purpose.
In his own words, President Ramaphosa spoke of a “deep level of trust, deep level of being able to work together very cordially”. Of great importance is the fact that the two leaders immediately committed themselves to dealing with difficult issues and finding subsequent solutions. They affirmed a hands-on approach to ensure success.
Another exciting point is that the leaders made it clear that they will capitalise on the strengths of their political relationship and work together in addressing challenges facing their economies. There is no doubt that close economic ties will ease pressure on both countries.
It is fact not fiction that Zimbabwe’s economy is suffering from the illegal sanctions imposed by the West two decades ago. And, two decades of the blockade are no joke. Zimbabwe’s economy has been suffocated. As rightly pointed out by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe cannot achieve enough alone and neither can it achieve the desired results without the help of friends such as South Africa.
Zimbabwe must, therefore, take advantage of the warm and brotherly relations with South Africa by ensuring that it plays its part in the implementation of the signed deals, some of which were long gathering dust in the shelves of the First Republic.
To ensure the smooth implementation of the deals we have to rid our systems of any obstacles ranging from bureaucratic bungling to corruption and ineptitude. In President Ramaphosa and South Africa, Zimbabwe cannot yearn for a better neighbour and partner as rightly captured by President Mnangagwa.
“In facing the task that lies ahead, I could not ask for a better partner with whom to travel down this path and new era of hope. I am proud to call you friend. I am proud to call you a brother and a co-labourer to better the lives of our people,” said President Mnangagwa of President Ramaphosa.
As a nation we are fully cognisant of religious and relentless efforts by our detractors in Western capitals to sever our socio-political and economic ties as neighbours. Executing the massive deals we have inked with South Africa will not only frustrate them but also speaks to regional integration.