Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
SOUTH Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is satisfied that Zimbabwe is on a recovery path and has acknowledged the recent adoption of the local currency as a huge step towards consolidating the desired transformation.
In view of the progress made, President Ramaphosa pledged that South Africa would back Zimbabwe, particularly on the energy supply side, which is a critical river of economic growth across sectors.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Summit on the Continental Free Trade Area in Niger, President Ramaphosa, after a bilateral meeting with President Mnangagwa, said the two leaders had a wonderful meeting where they discussed a number of issues including drought-induced energy shortages in Zimbabwe.
“On a broad level, we had a wide ranging discussion and we were both satisfied that things are beginning to consolidate in Zimbabwe, they are now moving forward to their own domestic currency and he briefed me about that and Zimbabwe is on the way to great recovery,” said President Ramaphosa.
Two weeks ago, the Government gazetted Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 ending the multi-currency system and making the Zimbabwe dollar the sole legal tender in the country.
The move effectively killed speculation in the economy that had caused immense suffering among ordinary Zimbabweans.
President Ramaphosa noted that Zimbabwe draws a lot of its energy from the Kariba dam whose levels have gone terribly low due to drought hence the need for support.
He said while South Africa was going through energy problems of its own, they will do a balancing act and see how best they can support their neighbour, Zimbabwe.
“As a result they would like obviously South Africa to support them but they have also been able to pay up the debt that they owed to Eskom, he (President Mnangagwa) confirmed that and he said they would like obviously further support,” President Ramaphosa said.
“This is the type of thing we are going to discuss with Eskom because we have always exported energy to Zimbabwe and indeed to other neighbouring countries so the fortunes of Eskom and the fortunes of energy in Sadc are intricately linked with our own fortunes.”
Recently, Government paid US$10 million to Eskom to reduce the debt with the South African power utility.
President Mnangagwa on Monday said Mozambique was ready to assist the country with increased supplies of electricity from Cahora Bassa after fruitful discussions with his counterpart President Filipe Nyusi on the sidelines of the same summit.
The President said they had agreed that Mozambique would supply more energy to Zimbabwe and the two countries’ Ministers of Energy will soon meet to tie up the loose ends of the deal.
The engagements by President Mnangagwa are set to ease the energy challenges in the country.
Meanwhile, in a post Cabinet briefing yesterday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the Minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi was in South Africa from where he will proceed to Mozambique to seal the energy deals initiated by the President.