Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The third session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission opened in Harare yesterday with a meeting of senior officials which called for vigorous implementation of bilateral agreements between the two countries.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary Ambassador James Manzou and South African Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Mr Kgabo Mahoai officially opened the meeting.
So far 45 agreements and memoranda had been signed between the two sister republics but no significant progress had been registered on the implementation side.
More agreements are expected during this third session with the two countries emphasising on a programme of action to implement the agreements.
“In his opening remarks, Ambassador Manzou said: “The success of our cooperation will not be measured by the number of agreements we sign or the number of decisions that we take. It will be measured by the action and the concrete results that can be attributed to it. This means the implementation of those agreements and decisions.
“I therefore appeal to all of us today to henceforth make implementation and more implementation the motto of our Bi-National Commission.”
Ambassador Manzou said the 45 memoranda and agreements between Harare and Pretoria were a catalyst for joint projects between the two countries.
He said the two countries shared similar economic challenges hence the need for closer cooperation to transform their economies based on accelerated industrial development.
“At the second session, motivated by a desire to give an impetus to the implementation of the agreed projects, we agreed on a implementation matrix as a useful tool for monitoring and tracking progress of lack of progress in the implementation of decisions,” said Ambassador Manzou.
“We have so far not fully operationalised the implementation matrix. I call on both our countries to operationalise this matrix as from the closure of this session next week.”
He hailed the sound relationship in the tourism sectors of the two countries through the Joint Tourism Technical Committee adding that the security services of the two countries had also forged an exemplary relationship.
In his remarks, Mr Mahoai said: “It is our firm belief that our bilateral partnership within the framework of the Bi-National Commission will bring tangible mutual benefits to our respective countries as we address our developmental challenges. We will be assessed in terms of our action, not in terms of what we say. Our relationship with Zimbabwe covers a wide range of scope of fields. This senior officials’ meeting will be the first in which we will focus on ensuring that whatever we say here, whatever we write in our papers should mean business and should mean that which we will be measured and that which can be proud about. We are under pressure to deliver on the decisions and targets we have set for ourselves.”
Yesterday’s meeting, which is also continuing today, is a build up to the ministers’ meeting set for Monday and the subsequent official opening of the Bi-National Commission by President Mnangagwa and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Tuesday.