Zim pleads for help as Ramaphosa attends banquet in Harare

The quiet diplomacy approach by the presidency of Thabo Mbeki when early intervention in the affairs of Zimbabwe was sorely needed, and a decade of misrule under Jacob Zuma who was too busy fleecing his own fiscus to worry about the woes of a neighbour, is increasingly becoming the official presidential responsibility of Cyril Ramaphosa.

When he’s honoured at a state banquet in Harare tonight, hosted by the government of his northern peer, Emerson Mnangagwa, South Africa’s 1st citizen will be feted for one reason and one reason only – another attempt by Zimbabwe to seek urgent financial aid from South Africa.

Last year a begging bowl was held out across the Limpopo with a little note attached that said R1.2 billion please.

But that request was rejected, mainly because it came at a time when Eskom had started flipping switches to “off” once more and Moody’s continued to grumble about being the sole ratings agency that was advertising South Africa’s above-grade investment prospects.

Zimbabwe doesn’t have such ratings pressure mainly because it’s been “junked”.

In the meantime its minister for foreign affairs and international trade, Sibusiso Moyo, has impressed upon South Africa the severity of his country’s situation.

Flanked by our own international relations minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, he told a ministerial session at an SA-Zimbabwe bilateral commission meeting in our northern neighbour’s capital that credit facilities extended to Zimbabwe had become a little few and far between.

Sisulu indicated that although she was well aware of Zimbabwe’s dismal economic standing, any kind of loan was unlikely as it would have to be approved by a full cabinet sitting down south.

Save to say that by the time Ramaphosa takes his seat at Mnangagwa’s table to have a free supper tonight he’ll be enjoying his food without having to feel guilty about letting Zim down later on.

That’s if South African tax payers are not in for a rude awakening soon.

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