By Oleen Ndori, International News Editor
ZIMBABWE and South Africa have agreed on the urgent need to come up with a new framework regarding Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) which are set to expire in December this year.
As Zimbabwe and South Africa strive to find solutions to rampant illegal cross border entries, the two countries’ Foreign Ministries met in Pretoria this Wednesday for the Zimbabwe-South Africa Mid-Term Review meeting.
The deliberations were on a number issues, including modalities regarding work and visitors permits.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Fredrick Shava also expressed Zimbabwe’s position with regards to fully exploiting the agreements in the spirit of spurring socio-economic development for the two countries, with special focus on the Beitbridge-Musina One Stop Border Post.
“You may recall that the decision to implement a One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Beitbridge/Musina was made by our Heads of State in 2007 to remove the bottleneck and ensure the smooth movement of goods and people between our two countries and beyond.
“I have noted that in spite of the presence of a Joint Technical Committee in the development of the One Stop Border Post, there are asymmetrical actions in the rolling out of this strategic project.
“It needs no recalling that the Beitbridge/Musina border post is a strategic crossing point for our two countries. It is an arterial link on the African Union’s North-South Transport Corridor.
“The success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to increase intra-African trade is dependent partly on a good transport network linking African countries. We have a major responsibility in contributing to this continental project through the expeditious completion of this One Stop Border Post,” said Ambassador Shava.
South Africa International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor also spoke of the strong relations and the need to further expand the economic agreements under the Bi-National Commission.
“Our two nations boast of strong bilateral relations following the decision by our two heads of state in 2015 to change from a Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation to a Bi National Commission.
“We have different agreements in areas of trade and investment, mining, defence, education, science and technology and agriculture. I am pleased to note that the MOU on agriculture has reached the stage of signing while the MOU on basic education is in the final stages of negotiation,” said Dr Pandor.
The two ministers also deliberated on the issue of SADC regional peace and the election of the two nations to the African Union Peace and Security Council, a key platform in pursuing peace across Africa.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner with statistics at ZAR47.5 billion as of 2021 up from ZAR38 billion in 2020.
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