By Trust Matsilele

JOHANNESBURG: SOUTH AFRICAN president, Thabo Mbeki is set to meet Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on the fringes of the coming SADC heads of states summit in Zambia to persuade him give back some farms he seized from white commercial South Africans in 2000.

The South African’s business and investment coalition wants the South Africa government to sign a protection agreement with its counterparts in Zimbabwe .

The agreement might see some of the evicted white commercial farmers with South African citizenship getting their farms back.

South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mphahwa, confirmed the worries of business people in the country and said he was under pressure from them to make sure that protection rights between the two countries were signed soon.

The recent pressure follows President Mugabe’s threats to nationalise all foreign owned companies, which might see billions of rands invested in Zimbabwe falling into the hands of the ZANU PF regime.

However, Mphahlwa has defended himself saying the failure of the South African government to sign the protection agreements with Zimbabwe were further worsened by Mugabe’s ouster of Finance minister Herbert Murerwa from the ministry of finance.

“The replacement of finance minister Murerwa by Samuel Mumbengegwi in February did cost us a momentum, “added Mphahlwa.

Political analysts have, however, commented that in an event that Mugabe continues pushing for the nationalisation of all foreign owned companies diplomatic relations between the two countries might get strained.

The original draft agreement dealt with promotion and protection of investment between the two countries. This included the protection of land rights of South African farmers who own land in Zimbabwe .

South Africa ’s Implats one of the leading investors in Zimbabwe has also expressed concern about the government’s failure to sign protection deal in time as it considered expanding,

“Eighteen months ago the company was waiting anxiously for the agreement to be finalised as it considered expansion in Zimbabwean context of runaway inflation and a capricious government,” said Bob Gilmour, Implats’s spokesperson.

Post published in: News

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