S.Africa says no special deal to bail out Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Any economic bail-out for Zimbabwe from South Africa would have to conform to its constitution and be passed by parliament, South Africa's finance minister said on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told parliament South Africa's constitution made it clear that

additional money could only be withdrawn from the National Revenue Fund by going through parliament.
“So there’s no under the table deal, it has to be by an appropriation and if it needs to be, by a special appropriation,” Manuel said in reply to a question on whether the government planned to commit money to assist its northern neighbour.
Zimbabwe is struggling under a severe economic crisis, highlighted by inflation of more than 7,600 percent and chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, which critics blame on President Robert Mugabe’s policies.
The southern African country has in the past requested a loan from South Africa, one of the countries within the 14-member Southern African Development Community tasked last month with developing an economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe.
But Manuel confirmed that South Africa’s central bank had an arrangement with Zimbabwe, dating back to the 1960s, which made provision for a credit facility backed by Land Bank bills.
However, this 75 million rand facility was almost exhausted and expired at the end of the year.

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