8 October 2010
South Africa and Botswana have agreed to establish a bi-national commission to meet annually in both Pretoria and Gaborone, President Jacob Zuma said during Botswana President Ian Khama’s first official state visit to South Africa this week.
“We also want to continue to work together to create opportunities which will ensure economic and industrial development leading to job creation and alleviation of poverty,” Zuma said following talks with Khama in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The two presidents discussed a range of proposed agreements to strengthen cooperation between South Africa and its northern neighbour in fields such as agriculture, transport, environment, health, and science and technology.
The energy and water needs of Botswana and South Africa were also discussed, as well as how the two neighbours could support each other on environmental issues.
“We also made special mention of the excellent cooperation between the two countries on the establishment of transfrontier parks,” Zuma said. “These include the Kgalagadi Park between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, as well as the Mapungubwe Park between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.”
Call for lifting of Zimbabwe sanctions
During Khama’s visit, South Africa and Botswana reiterated their call for Europe and America to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Khama said Zimbabwe needed to be given a chance to “heal”, and the sanctions were not helping that process.
“I was one of the people who were sceptical in the beginning … but the sanctions are now starting to be a hindrance, and we have to call on those imposing them to reconsider their position because the situation is better in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Both leaders conceded that Zimbabwe’s instability was a potential barrier to the region’s socio-economic development.
While sanctions were probably justified in the past, the situation in Zimbabwe had changed since the establishment of the government of national unity, they said.
In 2008, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to a power sharing deal to end decades of economic and political instability in that country.