POLITICAL NEWS - Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise supported a motion at the 46th Plenary Assembly session of the Southern African Development Community parliamentary forum calling for an end to economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The motion was tabled by Angolan ambassador Josefina Perpetua Pitra Diakite, who highlighted the impact of sanctions.
Political economy expert Zamikhaya Maseti said it was time SA backed Zimbabwe against sanctions.
“[SA is] directly affected by the crisis in Zimbabwe. We have about five million Zimbabweans living and working in SA. If we don’t work to stabilise that economy and for the sanctions to be lifted, that is going to be more of an economic burden,” said Maseti.
But for political analyst Andre Duvenhage, SA’s support of the lifting of sanctions was tantamount to supporting former ruler Robert Mugabe’s legacy of dictatorship.
He said it was a symptom of SA’s lack of a moral compass that the government was seen by the international community to be supporting the Zimbabwean government on the issue of sanctions.
“Even though [current President Emmerson] Mnangagwa has not done anything to change the economic situation in Zimbabwe, SA does not follow high moral values, so it is not surprising they support dictatorships with poor human rights records,” he said.
Maseti, however, argued that Mugabe’s legacy was not a rational reason to support the sanctions.
“We cannot punish the new regime … there is no justification for those sanctions to still hold. As they say, SA cannot prosper in a sea of misery.”
Faced with record-breaking inflation and a looming humanitarian crisis, Zimbabwe’s economy failed to bounce back after the historic general election in 2017, which ended Mugabe’s reign.
A year later, his successor has struggled to live up to the promise of economic growth.
According to the UN, about five million Zimbabweans are currently in need of food aid.
In March, this year, US President Donald Trump extended economic sanctions against Zimbabwe by a year, saying they would not be removed unless political reforms took place.
About 141 entities and top officials in Zimbabwe were on the US sanction list.