SA govt to link financial assistance to Zim reforms

The South African government has heeded calls by the opposition to offer financial support to neighbouring Zimbabwe on condition of tangible political reforms.

The Treasury on Tuesday confirmed South African Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, is scheduled to meet his Zimbabwean counterpart, Tendai Biti, this month to discuss Zimbabwe’s request for further financial assistance.

The request will thereafter be discussed by the South African Cabinet.

“The discussions will take place in the context of progress in implementing the Global Political Agreement,” Treasury stated ahead of the meeting.

The sentiment follows recommendations by the main South African opposition the country must offer financial assistance to Zimbabwe only if the parties adhered to the political roadmap as set out in the Global Political Agreement.

The Democratic Alliance recently urged the government not to extend a reported $100 million loan to Zimbabwe, fearing the money may be diverted by Zanu (PF) for use in a terror campaign against its political opponents ahead of elections likely to take place next year.

South Africa has previously assisted Zimbabwe, contributing R300 million to the SADC Agriculture Support Programme, a portion of which was used for the purchase of seeds, fertiliser and fuel for agricultural production in Zimbabwe.

This support was provided through the African Renaissance Fund, in terms of an agreement reached in 2008. The African Renaissance Fund is managed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

South Africa also extended R300 million as a Budget Support Grant to Zimbabwe for the rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure, including water reticulation, health services and education. This funding, which was approved by parliament, was given in terms of an agreement reached in 2009 between the two governments.

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