Politics, Africa

New South African leader pays 1st visit to Zimbabwe

Newly elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa net Zimbabwean counterpart Emerson Mnangagwa Saturday

17.03.2018
New South African leader pays 1st visit to Zimbabwe

By John Cassim

HARARE, Zimbabwe

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday paid his first visit to Zimbabwe , amid complaints by former president Mr Robert Mugabe, that the transfer of power in November, was illegal.

Both Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa and his counterpart recently took power following the respective constrained resignations of their predecessors

“In South Africa, we have successfully managed our transition from President [Jacob] Zuma’s presidency, to the new presidency we have, this in our case has been underpinned by a determination to have unity both in the party and the nation.

And the new dawn means we should continue handling matters that affect us with a great deal of care, transparency and patience,” Ramaphosa told reporters in Harare before his departure

In November 2017, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe stepped down after what he recently referred to as a "coup". In South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma resigned in February following threats of impeachment by his party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Mnangagwa said all was smooth and peaceful in Zimbabwe, despite the military intervention that led to Mugabe ceding power.

On the issue of appropriation of land without compensation, the South African leader said lessons had been learned from regional countries such as Zimbabwe.

“We are going to be drawing examples, some lessons from Zimbabwe and a number of other countries, our discussions are going to continue until they are mature,” Ramaphosa said.

Zimbabwe siezed land from white commercial farmers from year 2000 leading to years of poor harvests and starvation, which were made worse with droughts.

Land is a sensitive issue in South Africa, where the majority of the natural resource still remains in the hands of a few white farmers.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) says the policy to expropriate land without compensation is designed to address the past injustices of apartheid, which saw black-owned land being forcefully taken.

Ramaphosa said his government will undertake broad consultation with citizens before implementing the policy.

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