Ncube, who expressed hope the long waited treaty could be signed
possibly before a new government takes over in South Africa which goes
to the polls this month, said his ministry wanted clarification on a
certain clause in the treaty before it could be signed.
He refused to disclose the details pertaining to the clause that caused cancellation of the singing ceremony at the last minute.
signing ceremony could not go ahead because there is a clause in the
agreement that we want to be addressed first before we can commit
ourselves to signing, said Ncube.
We are still working on a
swift program because we would like to have the treaty signed before
South Africa 's elections, which might bring in changes to that
country's leadership, with new ministers coming in, he said.
spokesman for South Africa's Department of Industry Bongani Lukhele
said: I can confirm that there was indeed such a postponement, but I
can neither confirm nor deny that it was because of the Zimbabweans.
South African business leaders castigated Zimbabwe authorities for what
they said was a lack of seriousness for their abrupt turn on the
treaty whose singing had been scheduled to take place in the city of
Polokwane last Tuesday.
More than 60 (South African)
businesspersons traveled to the venue, only to be told that the meeting
had been postponed until further notice because the Zimbabwean
contingent had cancelled at the last minute, said a South African
businessman, in a telephone interview with The Zimbabwean on Sunday.
showed a lack of seriousness on this whole thing and did not even have
the courtesy to call us in time so that we re-schedule the meeting, he
In addition to reviewing issues related to trade the
Polokwane meeting would also have discussed issues border security,
irregular movement of people across the South Africa/Zimbabwe frontier
and disease control.
South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading
partner with trade between the two countries set to receive major boost
after Pretoria announced it was considering extending credit lines to
its northern neighbour to help rebuild its crumbling economy.
But the two countries that are also strong political allies do no have formal bilateral trade and investment protection treaty.
BY MXOLISI NCUBEPost published in: Agriculture