Zimbabwe’s Visiting Mugabe Set For South Africa

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is set to pay an official visit to President Jacob Zuma next week, the South African government has confirmed.

The department of international relations and cooperation said Thursday that the objective of Mugabe’s visit was to “consult on issues of mutual interest, paying particular focus on bilateral and economic cooperation, including regional and continental matters”.

It said the visit “will further strengthen the historical, cultural and fraternal bonds that exist between South Africa and Zimbabwe”.

A number of agreements – including the binational commission agreement– will be signed, which aims to “elevate the bilateral relations between the two countries”.

In 2014, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to R24.8bn, while Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa reached R2bn, the department’s spokesperson, Clyson Nomvela said.

It isn’t Mugabe’s first visit to South Africa this year, as he has been attending meetings there – among others on Lesotho – in his capacity as Southern African Development Community chairperson.

His election in January as chairperson of the African Union has also seen some of the travel bans against him lifted.

Reports said Mugabe has spent more than $10m since January on foreign trips, while the country was struggling to pay workers.

Among his other trips after returning in January from a month-long family holiday in the Far East were to attend the inauguration of the new president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, to fetch his ill wife in the Far East where she was receiving treatment, and to Japan where he spent a week attending the United Nations world conference on disaster risk reduction.

He recently went to Algeria for a three-day state visit, and is also scheduled to travel to India, Ivory Coast and Singapore in the next few weeks on African Union business.

Last week he was in Arusha in Tanzania to attend a youth summit.

In June he will return to South Africa for an AU summit.