tjir_v1n4wyj01 - The Saga Continues.The Zimbabwe Issue in...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.4, Winter 2002 176 The Saga Continues. ..The Zimbabwe Issue in South Africa’s Foreign Policy Jo-Ansie van Wyk* Geo-political and geo-economic factors have always determined relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Relations between these neighbours went through all the motions of apartheid, destabilisation, liberation, decolonisation and democratisation. After the implementation of international sanctions against Zimbabwe due to UDI, South Africa became Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner. At the time of its independence Zimbabwe’s economy was largely dominated by South Africa. By 1981 South African investments in Zimbabwe was more than 478 million pounds. Economic disengagement from Pretoria became one of the cornerstones of President Mugabe’s foreign policy. However, labour migration to South Africa became a physical manifestation of Zimbabwe’s continued economic dependence on its southern neighbour. Full diplomatic relations were resumed in April 1994 after South Africa’s first democratic elections. 1 Zimbabwe remains an important state to South Africa for a number of reasons - both as neighbours and members of SADC. Both states are major trading partners of one another. As a landlocked country Zimbabwe is dependent on South African harbors. Both states are members of SADC. The political events in Zimbabwe have an impact on the South African economy. Zimbabwe imports about 20% of its power from South Africa and has not paid its bills since 1999. It owns Eskom more than US$ 20m in arrears. The South African government has not
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.4, Winter 2002 177 provided any loans or credit lines to the Zimbabwe government directly. However, the South African export credit reinsurance scheme does have some exposure to ZISCO, the Zimbabwean Iron and Steel Company. A number of South African parastatals have provided credit facilities to their Zimbabwean counterparts. By now the political, economic and social meltdown in Zimbabwe is well known and documented - as is South Africa’s response to it. 2 Southern Africa’s future and the credibility of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) are linked to the Zimbabwe issue which remains one of the dominating foreign policy challenges for Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. The 9-10 March 2002 Zimbabwean presidential election campaign, the outcomes of the elections and subsequent events in Zimbabwe continue to have a negative impact on perceptions of Southern Africa. The presidential elections (to some degree overshadowed by the death of Jonas Savimbi) could prove a decisive point for South Africa’s regional policy, Thabo Mbeki’s regional standing, SADC integration as well as the NEPAD. Harare’s foreign policy continues to be dominated by the growing international condemnation of Robert Mugabe’s governance and Harare’s involvement in the regional conflicts. Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki represent two different African leaders and therefore
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir_v1n4wyj01 - The Saga Continues.The Zimbabwe Issue in...

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