Media Statement

25 October 2019

SADC Day of Solidarity with the Republic of Zimbabwe

The 39th Southern African Development Community Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held on 17 and 18 August 2019 in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, declared 25 October 2019 as the date on which SADC Member States collectively voice their disapproval and condemnation of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe through various activities and platforms until sanctions are lifted.

In fact, the Summit noted that the SADC Committee of Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs, during their meeting in May 2019 in Windhoek, Namibia, recognised that the perpetual existence of economic sanctions illegally and unfairly imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe, particularly by the United States of America and the European Union, is affecting Zimbabwe’s economic development, and the livelihoods of the people, especially vulnerable such as women, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.

To this effect, sanctions negatively affect women’s economic empowerment through a lack of Foreign Direct Investment as investors fear the impact of sanctions on their business relations with the US and EU. The Summit also noted that the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe has far reaching social, economic and financial implications which affect the SADC region at large.

South Africa recognizes the negative impact of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe throughout the region. In this regard, the South African Government and people unequivocally support the Summit decision and call for the total, unconditional and immediate removal of unfair sanctions against the Government and people of Zimbabwe.

The imposed sanctions have deterred the country’s economic development over the past 18 years as the overall impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe has resulted in a loss of an estimated US$42 billion in revenue.

Sanctions have contributed to the socio-economic challenges of Zimbabwe such as the high cost of living, unemployment, shortage of foreign currency due to huge demand, a weakening Zimbabwe Dollar compared to the US Dollar and other foreign currencies, high inflation and resulting in commodity shortages of basic food supplies and fuel as well as shortages of electricity, which negatively impact the economy. The socio-economic situation continues to deteriorate despite government efforts to arrest the situation. The current inflation rate in August 2019, as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is 300%. The Zimbabwean Government is only to release inflation figures in February 2020.

In 2001, the United States imposed targeted measures on the government of Zimbabwe, including financial and visa sanctions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of defence items and services, and suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) (S. 494) is an Act passed by the United States Congress, which imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, allegedly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery. In 2002, the EU and its allies also introduced its own sanctions on the country.

On 18 February 2019, a council meeting of the European Union's Foreign Ministers resolved not to extend sanctions against any individuals in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

On 05 March 2019, President Donald Trump renewed US sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year in accordance with the National Emergencies Act. US sanctions apply to 141 individuals, state-owned enterprises, other enterprises and farms. US nationals and businesses may not do business with those listed individuals or enterprises.

Among others, sanctions limit access to international credit markets, suspended balance of payment support and technical assistance by financial institutions, led to a decline in long-term capital inflows with a negative impact on employment levels and ability to provide basic goods and services to the people in the country. This has an adverse effects on diaspora remittances into the country through money transfer companies. Key agriculture institutions were placed under sanctions while financial services providers were punished with huge fines. The mining sector was negatively affected by sanctions including limited funding to recapitalisation, ability to access new markets and failure to receive proceeds to minerals sales.

In terms of the energy sector, there has been limited access to credit lines and financial support from international institutions like the World Bank, which stopped support for energy infrastructure development programmes. The areas of health, water and sanitation infrastructure is under pressure resulting in the outbreak of cholera and typhoid. This has resulted in the Health Services Support Programmes being suspended due to sanctions.

South Africa believes that, it is only through the immediate removal of sanctions that Zimbabwe will realise its economic recovery and growth. South Africa stands united with the SADC region and the Continent in support of Zimbabwe’s reintegration into the international trade community that will lead to its economic recovery to better the lives of the Zimbabwean people and the development of the region at large.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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