New ambassador to Zim expected in two weeks time
Former SA deputy minister of arts and culture Rejoice Mabudafhasi will in a fortnight present her credentials in Harare as she takes up residence there as SA’s ambassador to Zimbabwe.
In January, SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE exclusively reported that the ANC national executive council (NEC) member was handpicked by President Cyril Ramaphosa to replace ambassador Mphakama Mbete, whose mission ended in December 2020.
SA’s minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor informed her Zimbabwean counterpart Fredrick Shava, minister of foreign affairs and international trade, about Madudafhasi’s imminent departure for Harare when the two met in Cape Town on Friday.
“Minister Pandor informed her Zimbabwean counterpart of the appointment of new SA head of mission to Zimbabwe, ambassador-designate Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi, the former deputy minister of arts and culture,” reads a statement by Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela.
Meanwhile, Pandor is expected in Harare on Tuesday to officially hand over the first consignment of aid that SA is providing to the people of Zimbabwe who were affected by Cyclone Idai in 2019.
“SA, through the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund (ARF), pledged R50m in humanitarian support to assist those affected by the cyclone in Zimbabwe. The assistance consists of 450,000 bags of 12.5kg maize meal, to be distributed to the affected families,” Monyela said, adding there was a delay because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Despite a diplomatic spat last year over political instability in Zimbabwe, the two countries on Friday agreed to strengthen their trade relations. Sometime this year they will convene a Ministerial Mid-Term Review (MTR) ahead of the 2022 Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting in SA.
“The MTR would be important to assess and review in more detail the existing agreements between the two countries, those that are still under negotiations and progress on the implementation of signed ones,” read the Dirco statement.
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