Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has told United States President Joe Biden that illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe have weakened the country’s economy and have a negative spillover impact on the Sadc region.
President Ramaphosa was on a State visit to the US on Friday where he met with American President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The South African President addressed a press briefing after the meeting stating that in his meeting with President Biden they discussed a number of issues including illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
America and its allies imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2001 after the country embarked on the land reform programme.
President Ramaphosa said regional countries were also feeling the brunt of the western imposed sanctions.
“We also raised an issue of sanctions on Zimbabwe and argued that sanctions that are imposed on Zimbabwe have a collateral damage on us South Africa in the sense that they implement those sanctions against Zimbabwe, it weakens the Zimbabwean economy resulting in Zimbabweans leaving Zimbabwe in droves going to neighbouring countries South Africa, Botswana and Namibia,” said President Ramaphosa.
“We then suffer collateral damage as a result of that because as they come to our countries, they obviously want services which we obviously must provide and it causes a burden on our own countries.”
His message comes days after the United Nations endorsed findings and recommendations contained in the final report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, calling for the unconditional removal of the punitive measures.
The report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland last week on Wednesday by Professor Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur who visited Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission in October last year.
Commenting on the report, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Nations Stuart Comberbach said the research paper confirms the country’s long held view on the crippling effects of sanctions on the country.
Political analyst Mr Teddy Ncube said the message by the South African leader confirms that sanctions are real and their impact is being felt across the region.
“The first issue based on the message by the South African government denouncing sanctions is that sanctions are real and they are not real just in Zimbabwe but in the context of Sadc and Africa. If sanctions are impacting South Africa which is not their target, what more of Zimbabwe which is the primary target of the sanctions,” said Mr Ncube.
He said there is unanimity across Africa that Zimbabwe has to be given a chance to redevelop without being affected by sanctions.
Mr Ncube said there is no basis for the illegal sanctions to be sustained as they affect ordinary citizens who cross borders to seek greener pastures. — @nqotshili